Saffron and Butternut Squash Risotto
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
This risotto is heartier than Risotto Milanese and perfect for Fall. Add shredded chicken for an even heartier meal, or omit it for a vegetarian main.
Recipe Type: Entree
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • 2 pounds butternut squash (1 large), peeled, seeds removed, and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion or shallot
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup shredded chicken or turkey breast (optional)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place the squash on a pan and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a simmer in a small saucepan. Leave it on low heat.
  4. Soak the saffron in a tablespoon or two of hot stock and allow to infuse.
  5. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and saute the onions on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned.
  6. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter.
  7. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, and season with salt and pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until absorbed, then add more stock.
  10. Continue until the rice and barley are cooked through, but still al dente, 30 to 40 minutes total. Add the roasted squash cubes and chicken, if using, and stir to combine.
  11. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Mix well and serve.
Vegetarian and kosher dairy (with vegetable stock and no chicken)
Recipe by Katherine Martinelli at