This takes a little bit of time. The butternut squash can be baked ahead of time, and the the risotto can be prepared when you have 45 minutes to watch it carefully! Not nearly as heavy as it sounds, a sweet Italian sausage with a lot of fennel or anise is a nice addition to this fall comfort food. —purduetina
Prepare squash. Peel butternut squash, remove seeds and cut into 1/2” cubes. Place squash cubes on a buttered or parchment paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a dash of pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper and cook for about 40 minutes at 350F.
Heat chicken stock and set aside to simmer. Cook chopped onion in 1 tbsp of butter in a a large saucepan.
Prepare risotto: add arborio rice, barley and 1 more tbsp butter to onion and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken stock in 3 additions (2 cups each) to rice and barley, letting each 2 cup addition be absorbed by the rice, about 15 minutes for each addition.
With the last addition of stock, add the butternut squash to the risotto mixture and any other stuffing-like additions: dried fruits, carrots, celery, nuts, sausage, etc. Serve warm. Reheats very nicely. Resembles Thanksgiving style stuffing.