Butternut Squash Risotto with Sausage

Butternut squash risotto feels like a luxury on a cold winter night!

Butternut squash risotto cover : a cold weather classic

Everything here is my own opinion and I received no compensation for this post. It also contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you have any questions about this, just click here! All content copyright Teaspoon of Nose 2012-2024.

Jump to Recipe

I still say the best meal of my life was a seafood risotto in Cinque Terre. If there’s a risotto on the menu, I’m probably ordering it. So it was time to share my current cold weather favorite: butternut squash risotto with sausage!

This recipe is based on one I did in a cooking class with Luca Manfe, who won season 4 of Top Chef and is a native of my current home, Friuli Venezia Giulia. I did a Zoom cooking class of his (remember those?) years ago, and I still make my version every winter.

A big pan of butternut squash risotto with sausage

Risotto isn’t difficult, but it needs attention. Here’s what you need to know to make a great risotto!

The broth needs to be hot. You can’t skip this step, otherwise the texture won’t be right. Keep it simmering but not boiling on the next burner.

Cooking the risotto dry for a few minutes toasts the grains and makes the flavor better, so don’t skip this. Next comes wine, which you want to cook off before adding any broth.

Sauté the butternut squash, sausage, and aromatics!
Cook the butternut squash and sausage first, then set it aside to go back in near the end.
The amount of broth you add to the rice matters so much for risotto
Forgive my steam-filled action shots; it’s hard to photograph risotto while stirring constantly!
Butternut squash risotto with sausage

When you add broth, do it one ladle at a time. Don’t add the next ladle full until when you drag a wooden spoon through the rice, there’s very little liquid sitting in the pan. You don’t want to cook it dry, but adding the liquid little by little allows it to absorb slowly, so don’t flood it.

As it cooks, stir slowly. You don’t need to put muscle into it, just gently keep everything moving.

Risotto is best as soon as it’s done, so cook this when you’re happy to have friends chatting in the kitchen as you stir.

Butternut squash risotto also works without the sausage if you’re hosting a vegetarian: just heat a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the pan before cooking the butternut squash.

My cold weather favorite on the stove: butternut squash risotto with sausage

Tools you’ll need: 2 large pans and one small saucepan, knife, cutting board, wooden spoon and slotted spoon.

Butternut squash risotto with sausage

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: date night in, fall, rice, winter
Servings: 6


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ lb ground pork or beef
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 onion yellow
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 leaves sage
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 1 ½ cups white wine
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter very cold
  • 4 oz Stracchino cheese
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano as garnish


  • First, prep your ingredients: mince the onion, garlic, sage & rosemary, keeping the rosemary separate. Heat the broth up in a pan – you want it to be hot, but not boiling. Cut the butternut squash into ½ inch cubes.
  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat, then add oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork. Add a big pinch of salt and pepper and cook through, stirring often, about 5-8 minutes.
  • When it's done, use a slotted spoon to remove the pork, leaving the fat in the pan. Add in the butternut squash, season with salt & pepper again, and cook, stirring regularly.
  • After 5 minutes, add the onions, garlic, and sage. Cook for 5 more minutes, then add ½ cup white wine.
  • Cook a few minutes more, until the wine evaporates. Add the pork back into the squash mixture and cook for two more minutes, then remove the mixture from the heat. Set aside.
  • Heat a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the rice, stirring often, to toast. Do this for 3-5 minutes, until you can start to smell the rice.
  • Add the remaining 1 cup of white wine, turning the heat to high. Stir constantly until the wine has absorbed.
  • Add salt & pepper and turn the heat down to medium. Ladle a scoop of broth into the rice and gently stir constantly.
  • When the liquid is nearly soaked up, add another ladle of broth. Continue stirring and adding until the rice is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
  • About 12 minutes into cooking the rice, add the squash sausage mixture back into the rice. Continue cooking and adding liquid one ladle at a time until the rice is fully cooked.
  • At the 20 minute mark (even if the rice isn't done), stir in the rosemary.
  • Continue cooking until fully done, then remove from heat. Stir in small cubes of the butter, and then the stracchino, poppy seeds, and red wine vinegar.
  • Stir together, and add a little more broth if it looks too thick. It shouldn't be soupy, but it should spread back when you push a spoon through it. Add more salt & pepper if necessary.
  • Serve immediately and top with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmigiano!
Butternut squash risotto with sausage topped with parmigiano

Want more cold weather classics? I love cheese sausage polenta, pasta chiantigiana, and lentil soup!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.