Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

Not getting enough butternut in your risotto? Has this ever happened to you? (Warning: video contains choice words from British chef)

This basic butternut squash risotto recipe comes from a less disgruntled (gruntled?) British chef whose cooking style I really admire. The dish may be simple, but the garnish makes it a bit more interesting.

In addition to the chopped sage cooked slowly with the rice, whole sage leaves are quickly pan-fried and used as a seemingly out-of-place topping. Resist the urge to push the browned herbs to the side of the plate in favor of the bright orange morsels. The crispy sage leaves crumble and release a mellow smokiness that nicely complements the sweet butternut squash and creamy rice.

recipe adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Cookbook
Weekend Herb Blogging
hosted by Diary of a Fanatic Foodie

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

makes 4 servings

Butternut Squash Risotto Ingredients - Arborio and Sage
Arborio rice and sage.

For the Butternut Squash Risotto:

2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade and lightly seasoned
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
a dozen fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano rice, unwashed
8 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/4-inch dice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Crispy Sage:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
a dozen fresh sage leaves

For Serving:

Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese


  • The cooking time will vary depending on the cooking vessel and type of rice you use.
  • If short on stock and the rice is still not done to your liking, feel free to use boiling water instead of additional stock.


  1. Heat the stock and keep at a gentle simmer over low heat.
  2. In a separate heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook while stirring until the onions are translucent. Add the chopped sage leaves and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, taking care to keep the onions from browning.
  3. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well-coated with the olive oil and the outer layers of the grain are slightly translucent.
  4. Pour enough stock to barely cover the rice, about 1/2 cup. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon, wiping the sides and bottom of the pot clean while doing so, until the stock is fully absorbed.
  5. Add the diced butternut squash along with another 1/2 cup of stock. Continue adding the stock in 1/2-cup increments and stirring as described above, until the butternut squash is soft and the rice is done to the desired level of doneness.

How do you like your risotto?

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To Serve:

When the risotto is almost done, heat the vegetable oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Fry the sage leaves quickly, about a few seconds, until dark brown and crispy.

Add the butter and stir until completely melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve immediately in wide platters and top with the crispy sage leaves, with cheese and a grater on the side.

Butternut Squash Risotto - Crisp Pan-Fried Sage
Pan-fried crispy sage leaves.

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32 Responses to “Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage”

  1. Manggy says:

    Oh, that is… A really weird clip. I thought for sure GR would rip into his chefs. Quite ironic of him for calling out someone for being rude, though :) Strangely Jamie Oliver has a very similar recipe, but more complicated in every way. But it is still a very beautiful risotto, well done :) I prefer the risotto firm… I’m hard-pressed figuring out why anyone would want it chalky!

  2. Fran Magbual says:

    That risotto looks amazing. I like that you left some of the squash as chunks too.

  3. Meeta says:

    Risotto has got be one of my most favorite meals. I really love the crispy sage here!

  4. Argus (Jy) says:

    It looks creamy and flavourful. My other half does great risotto – smoked salmon, mushroom, even scallops. Me? I stir it too much and it becomes a giant lump!
    I liked that you’ve combined a distinctive flavour – sage – with the subtle one of squash.

  5. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    Classic! Sometimes I think I grow sage just so I can have crispy sage leaves on dishes like this — and so I can stuff them under the skin of our Thanksgiving turkey!

  6. Pixxienix says:

    I am so deprived of these classic beauties!! *marching off to the supermarket* That looks absolutely yummy, by the way ^_^

  7. Caitlin says:

    Is it weird that my go-to dinner when I’m not feeling motivated is risotto? So many people think it’s hard to make, yet it’s my fallback :) Then you go and give me this recipe, and me without any squash in the apartment! Another grocery trip I guess, because I can’t resist sage either. *sigh*

  8. Chocolate Shavings says:

    That risotto looks delicious! I’ve just used crispy sage to top a butternut squash soup and I can only imagine how good it would be on top of creamy risotto.

  9. Rachel says:

    Mmm, that looks perfect. I’d happily eat it for breakfast right about now! I make something very similar, but use thyme instead of sage, which I sometimes find to be very strong. Delicious either way!

  10. DD says:

    Butternut squash and sage is just one of those flawless pairings. I can only imagine how divine it must be in risotto.

  11. Fearless Kitchen says:

    This looks great. I was thinking of making a butternut squash and sage risotto, but yours looks better than the recipe I found!

  12. kat says:

    I’ve done the Ina Garten version of this & it so wonderful but I really like the addition of the sage to this one

  13. sweetbird says:

    I loved that video. He freakin’ cracks me up.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I am definitely going to make this this week!!

  15. RebeccaC says:

    This sounds amazing! And I just happened to have a butternut squash and a box of arborio at home. Now for the sage….

  16. Hillary says:

    I made the same dish but yours looks better :)

  17. Susan from Food Blogga says:

    I don’t know what it is, but butternut squash and sage are perfect companions. This is a lovely risotto, Jude.

  18. Katie says:

    I’ve been wanting to make risotto for a while. This recipe look great!

    Haha that guy in the video really wanted that pumpkin!

  19. redmenace says:

    Your recipes win me over every time! Thanks! Lovely!

  20. Kevin says:

    This is one of my favorite risotto flavours and it looks perfect!

  21. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Fried sage leaves are an incredibly delightful surprise aren’t they.
    Ramsey is too too much!

  22. Anna at Mediocre Chocolate says:

    I have been seeing versions of this all over my Reader lately–yours looks amazing! I have had a butternut sitting on my counter for weeks, waiting for cooler weather here in the Southwest…I think I know its resting place. Wonderful!

  23. giz says:

    Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about – this would make me more than a happy camper. My kind of comfort food.

  24. PG says:

    I had recently baked potatoes with sage, some of them had gone crispy too. Yummy! The risotto looks delicious!

  25. grace says:

    fantastic! i’ve always told myself that i’m too lazy to make a risotto, so i haven’t tried. yes, ’tis a dish i’ve reserved for eating out. :)
    meanwhile, if “gruntled” isn’t a word, it should be. :)

  26. holler says:

    This looks lovely! I will have to try it, as I am very boring and only ever make mushroom risotto.

  27. Manggy – I know.. kinda funny that he can call someone rude. Well, chalky is still at zero so.

    Fran, Meeta – Thanks! I like the sweet bits in there.

    Argus – Frying the sage really mellows it down. Fresh sage can be pretty strong for sure.

    Caitlin – I know.. It’s kind of relaxing if you think about it. You don’t really have to stir for 45 minutes straight or anything.

    Holler – I love wild mushroom risotto. That doesn’t sounds like such a bad idea right now.

  28. noobcook says:

    can u believe I have not eaten risotto b4? hehe and your gorgeous pics are really nudging me to try it soon ;p

  29. Carm says:

    Yummmm… I must remember to buy pumpkin when I do the shopping next.. I’m dying to make one of those gorgeous pumpkin recipes you keep sharing… This one looks divine! Mmmmmm

  30. maris says:

    This sounds so good! I had butternut squash risotto the other night for the first time and it was delicious. I want to try to make my own and this looks so simple, yet elegant

  31. Miri says:

    What a beautiful risotto – I love risottos and when I tired of bread and meat on a recent trip to London, was so happy to fall back on risottos! Thanks for the recipe…


  32. Ben Padstow says:

    We wish we’d researched the etymology of ‘Gruntled’ before we named our site after it … we thought we were being clever!

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