Butternut Squash Risotto w/ Sage Brown 'Butter'

by Dawn T in Rouxbe Recipes

This elegant risotto is flavored with a smooth butternut squash purée, roasted butternut squash, fresh arugula, crispy sage leaves and brown butter.

  • Serves: 2 to 4
  • Active Time: 1 hr 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins

  • Comments: 6
  • Views: 25142
  • Success 100%

Step 1: Making the Butternut Squash Purée

Making the Butternut Squash Purée

First preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C).

To prepare the purée, first wash and peel the squash. Cut the squash into approx. 3/4" -inch cubes. Peel the garlic.

In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the squash, the whole garlic cloves and the sage leaves. Add the stock and season liberally with salt. Bring the squash to a gentle simmer. Loosely cover just the top of the squash with a piece of vented foil. Simmer gently until the squash is completely fork tender.

While you are waiting for the squash to cook, jump to Step 2 to prepare the rest of the squash.

Once the squash is tender, remove the sage leaves and discard. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender (you may have to do this in batches) and puree until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Make sure to hold the lid with a cloth to ensure the top does not explode from the heat of the mixture.

Taste the puree for seasoning. Transfer to a small pot and keep warm.

  • 3/4 lb butternut squash
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 large sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp butter (non-diary can be used)
  • 3/4 cup stock (approx.)
  • sea salt, to taste

Step 2: Roasting the Butternut Squash

Roasting the Butternut Squash

Cut the squash into 1/2" -inch cubes. Toss with the oil and season to taste with salt.

Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for approximately 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Once done, remove from the tray and set aside.

  • 1/2 lb butternut squash
  • 1 to 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste

Step 3: Frying the Sage Leaves

Frying the Sage Leaves

*Note: Try to use the smaller sage leaves for frying and reserve the larger leaves for the Sage Brown Butter (next step).

To fry the sage leaves, place the oil into a small fry pan or pot and heat over medium heat.

Make sure the leaves are clean and thoroughly dry.

Once the oil is between 275° to 300ºF (or 135° to 150ºC), fry the sage leaves. Using a slotted spoon, lower the leaves into the oil. Be careful of any splattering oil. Fry them for about 5 to 10 seconds or so, just until they become even in color. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Set aside.

  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves*
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil

Step 4: Making the Sage Brown Butter

Making the Sage Brown Butter

To make the sage brown butter, place the butter into a small, stainless-steel fry pan over medium heat.

Stir occasionally to make sure that the butter does not burn. As you stir, the butter may start to foam. Continue to cook until the butter browns evenly.

The impurities in the butter will likely turn quite dark but just pay attention to the color of the butter to ensure it does not burn. You are looking for a nice rich golden color.

Once done, add the sage leaves and remove the butter from the heat. You may need to transfer the butter to another pot to stop the cooking process.

Once the butter has cooled slightly, remove the sage leaves. Strain the butter through cheesecloth several times to get rid of any brown specks.

The butter can be stored in a small squeeze bottle and warmed just before using. Alternatively, place it into a bowl and set it aside for now. See note below on storing leftover butter.

  • 1/2 cup butter (non-diary can be used)
  • 10 to 15 sage leaves

Step 5: Preparing Your Mise en Place

Preparing Your Mise en Place

Note: For the liquid, use a combination of 1/2 water and 1/2 stock so you don't over power the flavor of the puree. Always keep in mind that more or less liquid may be needed to cook this dish. It's always better to have too much than not enough.

To prepare your mise en place, place the liquid into a pot, season with the salt (if needed) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and keep hot.

In the meantime, finely dice the onions and garlic.

Note: For this dish, it is important to use rice that is suitable for risotto (see attached drill down).

Measure out the rice, olive oil and white wine. Wash and spin dry the arugula. Set aside.

  • 2 1/2 cups stock
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup risotto rice (see note)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine or vermouth
  • 2 cups arugula

Step 6: Starting the Risotto

Starting the Risotto

Place the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan and heat over medium to medium-low heat.

Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until soft and translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes. Next, add 1/4 cup of the hot cooking liquid to soften the onions further. Let the cooking liquid completely evaporate before moving onto the next step.

Step 7: Toasting the Rice & Deglazing

Toasting the Rice & Deglazing

Once the liquid has completely evaporated, turn the heat up to medium-high and add the rice all at once. Stir to coat the rice in the hot fat. Monitor the heat so the aromatics do not burn. Toast the rice for a few minutes until the perimeter of the grains are translucent.

Once toasted, add the garlic and cook, stirring just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze with the wine. Stir the rice until the wine evaporates.

Step 8: Cooking the Risotto

Cooking the Risotto

Once the wine has evaporated, add one cup of the hot liquid. Stir often to coax the starches out of the rice. Once almost absorbed, add 1 to 2 cups of the warm butternut squash puree and continue to stir. Once the puree thickens and reduces, go back to adding the hot cooking liquid. Add the next cup of liquid only when the last cup has been absorbed by the rice. Stir frequently. During the cooking process, make sure to adjust the heat so the liquid is always gently boiling.

Continue to add liquid and cook the risotto until it reaches the al dente stage (or until it is done to your liking). Start tasting the rice for doneness around the 15 minute mark.

Note: Any leftover butternut squash puree can be frozen and used another time.

Step 9: Finishing the Risotto

Finishing the Risotto

Once the risotto has been cooked to your liking, taste it for seasoning. Stir in the butter (or olive oil). Fold in the roasted butternut squash and arugula. Cover and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes.

Just before serving, add a bit of hot liquid to loosen the consistency, if necessary. Plate on warmed dishes. Top with parmesan shavings, fried sage leaves and a drizzle of warm sage brown butter. If desired, garnish with Walnut Parmesan and serve immediately.

  • 1 to 2 tbsp butter (non-dairy) or olive oil


Brown butter can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few weeks.

Liz S

Butternut Squash Risotto

I had made the squash ingredients yesterday , but today I could not find decent sage or any arugula. I was determined to make it anyway so I just left out all the sage and the brown butter sauce ( I am sure it would have kicked it up a few notches). I substituted tiny baby spinach leaves for the arugula. It turned out to be a very tasty and pretty side dish despite my changes and I will definitely make it again.

Bonnie D

Risotto in the works..

I had some butternut squash that needed to be used so looked for a recipe to try out here on Rouxbe and saw this one. I have made the sage brown butter, pureed the squash and roasted the squash. I have some fresh kale that also needs to be used so wondered how fresh kale if cut small would work as a substitution to the arugula (which I don't have).

Btw, I am really enjoying the new format for the courses and now have a kitchen To Do list that grows by the day!
Thanks Rouxbe!

Dawn T
Rouxbe Staff

Re: Risotto in the works...

Sounds like you are on track for one delicious dinner Bonnie. As for kale being a good substitute for arugula, I am not sure they are really that comparable in flavor or texture. However, with that said, you should be fine using a bit of kale.

The best way to know for sure is to test it both ways. Next time, use arugula and see how it compares to kale. Good luck and enjoy!

Bonnie D

Excellent risotto

Hi Dawn,
Thanks for your reply. The risotto was excellent with the kale. I chopped it fairly fine so there would not be any large pieces in the risotto. Next time i will use arugula and see what the differences will be.

My family said to make it again.
>; )

Kathleen S

Risotto with butternut squash

I made this tonight and it was wonderful. Beautiful, lots of flavor, and healthy. Every recipe should always be made exactly as the recipe states. Later deviations can be made. I can't wait to make this for company. I would recommend that you prep the meal in advance. Make the purée and roast the squash early in the day so you don't have so much to do at the final stages. Great risotto!

Ken R
Rouxbe Staff

Re': Risotto with butternut squash

Great work Kathleen. I couldn't agree more re: the prep you can (and should) do in advance. It makes the assembly very quick and easy. Cheers!

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