Cast Iron

Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta, Manchego & Sage

March 15, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

The "inspiration " for this recipe appeared in the October 2004 issue of Cooking Light. However, that version had some serious flavor and texture challenges. I switched out tarragon for sage, sauted my onion in butter, and added grated Manchego instead of boring cubed Monterey Jack to give it some originality and nuttiness that played well with the pancetta. And, truth be told, I will use any excuse to eat Manchego. I also simplified the cooking method. This is one of my "signature" dishes that I love cooking for and sharing with others. —kristalberg

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a lovely, elegant dish. It's rich, earthy and nutty, but not heavy or overbearing. I especially like the simmer-on-the-stove technique, making this a good dinner-party risotto -- no need to be tied to the stove, stirring constantly. If you make this on a weeknight, don't start it at 7:00 p.m. like I did or you'll be eating at 9:00! Definitely worthy of an Editors' Pick. - mariaraynal —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1.5 pounds Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces chopped pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 2 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 2/3 cup aged Manchego cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Place squash in a single layer on a 1/4 sheet pan or in a cast iron skillet with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring once after 20 minutes.
  3. Warm a small saute pan over medium heat. Place pine nuts in pan and toast for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Cook pancetta in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan; drain on a paper towel. Discard pan drippings.
  5. Add butter to dutch oven and melt. Then add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until onion is tender.
  6. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.
  7. Add rice; saute one minute.
  8. Stir in broth, water, wine and sage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer over low heat, covered, for 20 minutes. (Do not stir; rice will have a liquid consistency similar to stew.)
  9. Stir in the squash, pancetta, cheese, salt, and pepper. Cover and let stand 10 minutes (rice will continue to cook).
  10. Spoon onto four dishes, sprinkle each with toasted pine nuts and serve.
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3 Reviews

OPTOMontheEdge February 27, 2023
Delicious and filling. Super easy- my 6 and 7 year olds helped cook this with me. I'll probably double the recipe moving forward, as there was not a grain of rice left in the pot. Super yum.
Griselle P. July 29, 2020
This recipe is delicious! Our entire family, kids and teens included, enjoyed it.
coffeefoodwrite March 19, 2010
This looks very good. Looking forward to trying it. Love the combination of Manchego (one of my favorite cheeses) and butternut squash!