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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.


Rate or Review


  • 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.

  • JoannnnieM | 12/24/2013

    This is a regular in our dinner rotation, tons of flavor, warm and comforting.Five stars just isn't enough for this recipe!

  • User avater
    bakesalot | 12/13/2013

    Maybe it's just that the older I get, the higher flavor I need. I found this risotto okay, but not my favorite of all the risotto dishes I make (e.g., red pepper risotto, asparagus and mushroom risotto, and others). This one would make a decent side dish, but not a main dish, which is how I usually serve risotto for the two of us, with perhaps some marinated, grilled shrimp on top. I made this as directed, except that I got rid of some of the bacon grease before adding the other ingredients; to be fair, maybe that's why I didn't like it as well as the other reviewers.

  • mafajous | 10/21/2013

    I had my doubts while cooking this but it turned out to be fabulous. It does take a lot more broth than called for. I used about half the bacon grease. 3 cups of squash and next time I might add a little more. 1/2 cup of shallots and only 1/4 cup of cheese. I also roasted the squash tossed with a little olive oil at 400 for 20 minutes and added it when almost half way through the rice cooking time. A really great recipe.

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