Make Ahead

Butternut Squash Arancini with Sage Honey

October 27, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 8-10
Author Notes

Arancini means "little oranges" in Italian and this recipes takes this literally: butternut squash adds color and flavor to these fried risotto fritters. I top these little oranges with sage scented honey and lemon, the perfect complements to the squash inside.

What You'll Need
  • 1-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 5 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 bunch fresh sage (about 10-15 leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Canola oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss butternut squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. It should be soft when pierced with a fork when it is done.
  3. While squash is cooking, heat remaining one tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Saute the shallot and garlic for about 1 minute. Add rice and saute for about a minute, until the grains start to turn translucent. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Add stock (which is preferably being kept warm in another pan on the stove), a half cup at a time. Stir until the stock is absorbed and then add another half cup until all the stock has been used and the risotto is soft and creamy. This should take about 20 minutes.
  5. When the squash is done, add it to the saucepan and stir until the squash has mostly broken down and is well-incorporated into the risotto. You may need to add a bit more stock to make this happen. Add salt and pepper.
  6. Note: I don't mind seeing some orange chunks in my arancini, but if you prefer a smoother consistency, you may want to mash the squash with a potato masher before adding it to the risotto.
  7. Remove the risotto from the heat once the mixture has become quite stiff. Refrigerate the risotto for at least an hour or until it's cool enough to handle. You could also prepare up to this point a day before completing the recipe.
  8. While the risotto is cooling, Heat the honey very slowly in a small saucepan. Once it's warm and liquid (about 100 degrees or so) remove it from the heat and add the sage leaves. You might want to muddle the leaves a little to help with the flavor extraction, but you'll be fishing these sage leaves out later so don't mash them up too much. Set the honey mixture aside.
  9. When you're ready to make your arancini get everything set up first. Have a bowl for each: crumbled goat cheese, flour, 2 eggs beaten, panko.
  10. Mix 1 lightly beaten egg into the risotto. Use a tablespoon and get a big scoop of risotto. Nestle about a teaspoon of goat cheese in the middle. Then roll the ball in flour, then dip in egg and finally roll in panko. Set aside on a tray. Repeat for the rest of the risotto.
  11. On the stove in a deep sided skillet, heat 1-inch of canola oil on medium low to about 350 degrees. Once the oil is hot enough, work in batches, dropping the risotto balls one by one into the oil, turning about every minute or so for even browning. They should be completely done in about 3-4 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towels. Repeat for all the remaining arancini.
  12. When they're all done, remove the sage leaves from the honey and whisk in the lemon juice (you may need to re-heat your honey at this point to make it more liquid).
  13. Arrange your arancini on a plate and drizzle the honey over them. If you prefer, you can serve the honey as a dipping sauce on the side. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • QueenSashy
  • lapadia
  • Sagegreen
  • vvvanessa
  • vrunka
I love experimenting in the kitchen and learning new techniques.

14 Reviews

Heather October 30, 2014
I just made these....what a treat. I think the tang of the goat cheese is important. A sweeter cheese wouldn't contrast enough. I put crispy pancetta in the middle with the cheese. This is the kind of recipe that makes you proud to accomplish.
QueenSashy December 2, 2013
spot November 1, 2010
Can they be made ahead then reheated?
lapadia November 1, 2010
Sagegreen October 31, 2010
Yum. Just found these and the other wonderful looking arancini recipe today. Great photo!
vvvanessa October 28, 2010
vrunka October 28, 2010
Thanks, all, for all the kind comments! These are a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat! I wound up eating all the ones I made for my test batch for this recipe... ah, the dangers of Food52!
gingerroot October 27, 2010
These look and sound amazing! I love what you have going on here - warm cheese, butternut, rice fritters with infused honey - YUM!!
TheWimpyVegetarian October 27, 2010
These look fantastic!!! I can't wait to make them!
SallyCan October 27, 2010
This recipe is interesting~are they very sweet?
vrunka October 27, 2010
They're definitely have a sweet aspect aspect to them -- especially once you add the honey -- but they're still squarely in the savory category.
vrunka October 28, 2010
oops -- sorry for the poor grammar. that's what I get for not proof-reading!
MplsCitified October 27, 2010
These look amazing.
aargersi October 27, 2010
These look and sound SO GOOD - love the idea, love the infused honey and the squashy rice, love everything about it!!!