An easy and elegant recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto topped with salty crispy pancetta is perfect for entertaining or for date night in!
Alright, how many of you braved the crowds this weekend to finish your holiday shopping? Oh, just me? I’m the only one dumb enough to think it wouldn’t be insane to go to the mall AND Target on the Saturday before Christmas? With my 5 month old? Yep, that happened.
The mall actually wasn’t terrible after I spent forty hours trying to find an actual parking spot. Except I didn’t bring the stroller because I thought it would be too much of a pain. So I brought the carrier instead which is great except for trying to carry a diaper bag while wearing it. It just doesn’t work well. So I was uncomfortable. Walking about the packed mall. Trying to find the perfect gifts.
Then there was Target. I kept Lars in his carseat which I set in the cart which makes it hard to see what my cart is about to hit. It was a serious madhouse inside and I really just wanted to leave my cart, grab Lars, and go home. But I carried on, got all my groceries for the week of Christmas and now I’m done. Hallelujah.
When we got home from our afternoon of shopping, I was more than ready to whip up something warm and comforting for dinner. Since Lars was due for a nap, this meant I had a good 45 minutes to myself in the kitchen. Enter: Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto.
Risotto definitely isn’t your ‘quick and easy’ weeknight dinner. It’s more a labor of love and time, as you have to stand by it pretty much the entire time, stirring and adding broth, stirring and adding broth, stirring and adding broth. The bright side is that the recipe calls for wine, which gives you a reason to pop open a bottle and enjoy a glass yourself while you put that time and love into your dinner.
How to Lighten Up Butternut Squash Risotto
Instead of using heavy cream or lots of cheese to make the risotto super creamy at the end, I used GO VEGGIE Vegan Classic Plain Cream Cheesewhich is lower in fat and calories, has no saturated fat, and no cholesterol compared to regular cream cheese. AND it’s just as delicious. I love the stuff!
The trick with adding the cream cheese is to first mix it with with a little bit of broth to thin it out and warm it up a bit, to ensure it doesn’t curdle or just not incorporate well into the risotto. The end result is a super creamy, super delicious risotto that is a thousand percent worth the effort you put into it.
To top it all off, I fried up some pancetta, for a little salty and smoky kick at the end. You could also use bacon if you want, or omit it completely to make it vegetarian (using vegetable broth).
This butternut squash risotto dish was the perfect comforting dinner that I needed. We had it as a main dish with a side salad, but it would also be great as a side dish to chicken or fish.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, de-seeded, and diced into 1" chunks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 oz GO VEGGIE Vegan Classic Plain Cream Cheese
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage chopped (about 8 sage leaves)
- 4 oz pancetta cut into small bite-sized pieces
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss butternut squash in olive oil, then season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Place chicken broth in small pan over low heat.
- Heat butter over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
- Add arborio rice, stirring well to combine, and cook another 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add white wine and cook until all wine has been absorbed.
- Add 1/2 cup of the warm broth, stirring until all has been absorbed.
- Continue this until only 1/2 cup of the broth remains, stirring each addition until it has been absorbed.
- With remaining warm 1/2 cup of broth, combine with cream cheese, mixing until well combined.
- Add cream cheese mixture to rice mixture, stirring well to combined.
- Add butternut squash and 2 tablespoons of sage to rice mixture, and gently stir.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Heat small pan over medium-high heat.
- Add pancetta and cook until crispy, about 4-5 minutes.
- Top risotto with pancetta and remaining sage.
- Serve and enjoy!
This post was sponsored by GO VEGGIE, however recipe and all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love!