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Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon & Sage

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4 as a main course, or 6 as a starter.

Though what we commonly think of as comfort food is often slow-cooked, it doesn’t have to be that way. This dish is what we like to call weeknight comfort food: a full-bodied squash risotto with crumbled bacon and flavor-boosting sage.  


  • 1 qt. homemade or low-salt chicken broth; more as needed   
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 10 large fresh sage leaves
  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups 1/4-inch-diced butternut squash
  • 1-1/2 cups arborio or other risotto rice, such as carnaroli or vialone nano
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 90
  • Fat (g): 10
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 10
  • Sodium (mg): 390
  • Carbohydrates (g): 51
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 13


  • Combine the chicken broth and wine in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. In a medium (3-qt.) saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and fry, turning once, until they’ve turned dark green in most places, about 1 minute total. Don’t brown. With a fork, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Put the bacon in the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to the plate with the sage.
  • Add the shallots to the saucepan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the squash and rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Ladle in enough of the hot broth mixture to just cover the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add another ladleful of broth and continue cooking, stirring, and adding more ladlefuls of broth as the previous additions are absorbed, until the rice is tender with just a slightly toothsome quality, about 25 minutes. As the risotto cooks, adjust the heat so that it bubbles gently. The broth mixture needn’t be boiling; it should just be hot. If you use all the broth and wine before the rice gets tender, use more broth but not more wine.
  • Set aside the nicest looking sage leaves as a garnish (1 leaf per serving). Crumble half of the bacon and the remaining sage leaves into the risotto. Stir in the Parmigiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble the remaining bacon over each serving and garnish with a sage leaf.

If serving as a starter, follow up the risotto with chicken or pork. Try Pork Chops with Maple-Ginger Pan Sauce.


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Reviews (25 reviews)

  • samuelroof | 01/16/2019

    Fantastic. Thank you for the guidance from the comments:
    Slightly decrease amount of cheese
    3 cups squash
    Increase amount of broth- I used 1.5 qt
    Increase amount of bacon if serving as main course (I doubled and it was not over powering at all).

  • cinnamongrl311 | 12/31/2018

    i enjoyed this dish. I bought slab bacon and made lardons in advance instead of sliced bacon. When it was time to add the bacon, i added the lardons, which were very thick and crunchy, providing some wonderful texture, in addition to the smoky taste. My squash cooked, although it took more time and more broth. I added more sage as well. This was a lovely fall/winter dish.

  • ifermon | 12/23/2018

    Not sure how people got it done in 25 minutes. For me the squash took a LOT longer. Next time I’ll precook the squash (thanks mafojous). Dish was delecious when it was finally done though.

  • Biggbird | 06/03/2015

    I followed the recipe instructions to a T, and they were spot on.The texture was perfect. I did not drain any bacon fat. I didn't add salt, That being said, I feel the taste was lacking a "kick" of some sort, but I don't know what that would be. Some say the parmigiano reggiano overpowered the dish. I didn't think so.

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