Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage Brown Butter

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This creamy risotto is perfect for cozy fall nights with is rich, sweet and earthy flavors from the butternut squash and a generous amount of vegan parmesan and butter. Serve with a glass of champagne for some autumn decadence!

  • Author: Sunny Gandara
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan


For the butternut squash: 
2 cups (400 grams or about 1 small squash) butternut squash cubes, peeled and diced into 1-inch (1 cm) cubes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher or sea salt

For the brown butter:
4-5 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter

For the fried sage leaves:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
About 12 fresh sage leaves

For the butternut squash risotto:
5 cups (12 dl)vegetable broth
3 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small Vidalia onion or 2 medium shallots, minced
1 ½ cups (300 grams) risotto rice (Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano)
3/4 cup (1.75 dl) dry white wine
¾ cups (75 grams) vegan Parmesan cheese (like Follow Your Heart or Violife)
Finely grated zest and juice from ½ a lemon 


To prepare the roasted butternut squash: 

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). 

Spread the cubes of butternut squash on a baking sheet, then drizzle with the olive oil and season with a couple of pinches of salt and toss to combine.  Make sure to distribute the cubes so they are in an even, single layer. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester or tip of a knife inserts easily. 

Remove from the oven and set aside.

(This step can be done in advance and refrigerated if necessary). 

To brown the butter: 

Heat the butter over medium heat in a small pot until melted and lightly simmering. Keep on cooking over medium-low heat, while continuing to swirl the pot. Patience is needed here but don’t leave the stove because butter can burn easily!

The butter is ready when the butter turns a light brown color and the aroma is slightly nutty. When that happens, remove the butter from the heat, and let it cool. 

For the fried sage leaves: 

Heat the olive oil in a small or medium skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sage leaves in an even layer. Fry for  a few seconds, until the sage leaves shrink a bit but they should not get burnt or dark. Turn the leaves and fry for another few seconds, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to trap any residual oil.

For the butternut squash risotto: 

Add the vegetable broth to a pot over medium heat, and add the minced sage. Heat up and lower the heat to keep warm. 

In a deep, high sided skillet, add half of the brown butter, then add in the olive oil. Add the onion or shallot and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the onions are slightly translucent and soft.

Add in the risotto rice and stir with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes, ensuring the butter is well incorporated and the grains start to become translucent.

Pour in the wine and stir, cooking until the wine has evaporated. 

Next, add in one ladle pof the vegetable broth at at time, continuing to stir until the liquid is almost evaporated, and repeat that process until the rice is about al dente. Add the roasted butternut squash and carefully stir until combined. Throw in the vegan parmesan cheese, remaining browned butter, lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper. Add in the last couple of ladles of vegetable broth and cook until you have a super creamy and loose risotto. 

Serve in warm bowls and garnish with additional vegan parmesan cheese and 2-3 fried sage leaves.