This Roasted Butternut Risotto with salty fried pepitas is such a wonderfully creamy dish! Pure comfort food on a cold rainy fall day! It’s extra lovely when topped with the crispy pepitas!
Roasted Butternut Recipe
Boy, do I love risotto! It’s so warm and creamy and comforting! What’s not to love? And the possibilites are almost endless! You can totally customize your risotto dish to include fish or meat or only vegetables. I prefer vegetarian risotto dishes although I once had a very nice one with shrimp – that was great too. I’m sure you could make a vegan risotto too by using vegan butter and vegan cheese – let me know if you try it that way!
Now this risotto gets its flavor from lots of yummy roasted, slightly caramelized butternut. We love butternut in this family! My husband – being from South Africa – introduced me to butternut squash and I immediately loved it. You get a lot of butternut side dishes in South Africa but here neither pumpkin nor squash were really a thing until a few years ago. My family never ate pumpkin and squash and I didn’t really know it until I was well into my adult years.
Nowadays you get all sorts of pumpkin and squash here in Germany too. Apparently, both pumpkin and squash are fruit (fascinating!) but there are a few differences betwen them. The main ones are shape, texture and nutrition value. Taste-wise, I prefer squash to pumpkin. How about you?
Germany is not exactly the land of a thousand squash dishes. When I was growing up, I don’t remember ever seeing pumpkin or squash on the menu of restaurants. Nowadays, pumpkin soup is a staple of the fall season but other than that, there’s not much variety. How about where you live? Are pumpkin and squash used in a lot of dishes?
This Roasted Butternut Risotto may be a bit time consuming but it’s totally worth it. Roasting the butternut slightly caramelized it without making it too soft to handle. And yes, let’s be honest, making risotto is generally quite time consuming too. But again, so worth it. You have to do it slowly though. For me, making risotto means cooking with lots of love. It won’t work if you just pour in all the liquid at once. It takes time for the rice to absorb all the lovely broth which will in turn make it creamy and soft. And make sure you use Arborio rice!
If you’re a fan of different textures in a dish (like me!), I totally recommend that you add some fried salted pepitas on top of your plate of steaming cheesy creamy butternut risotto! Personally, I just LOVE the crispy extra kick of the salted pepitas. You can easily (and very quickly) make them by frying them for a few minutes in a little bit of olive oil until they’re crispy and then seasoning them with a little bit of salty. They’re also a super addicting snack.
And you have to add lots of parmesan cheese on top of course. Freshly grated is best!
Will you be making this risotto now that the days have already gotten colder? Or how about my Autumn Veg & Sausage Sheet Bake?
Roasted Butternut Risotto
This Roasted Butternut Risotto with salty fried pepitas is such a wonderfully creamy dish! Pure comfort food on a cold rainy fall day! It's extra lovely when topped with the crispy pepitas!
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (356°F). Cover a baking tray with parchment paper.
Peel and seed your butternut and cut it into small cubes. Mix with olive oil and salt and spread on the baking tray. Make sure the pieces overlap as little as possible.
Roast at 180°C (356°F) for 40 minutes until the butternut is tender and slightly caramelized.
Take half of your roasted butternut and blend it until smooth. Keep the other half for later.
Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a pan and heat up on medium heat. Add the risotto rice and toast for 2 minutes. Move the rice around with a spatula every now and then.
You will need about 7 cups of liquid (broth) for the risotto. Add 1/2 cup of broth at a time and mix quickly with a wooden spatula. Don't stir again until most of the broth is absorbed. Then add the next 1/2 cup of broth.
Repeat these steps until all broth is used up. The risotto should be creamy and soft with a tiny little bit of bite to the rice.
Take the pan off the heat and add the blended butternut, butternut pieces, butter and cheese. Season with 1/2 salt if necessary. Mix all well and serve immediately! Enjoy!
EXTRA OPTIONAL STEP: Heat 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan at medium heat. When hot, add 1/2 cup of pepitas and fry for a few minutes until they are crunchy. Season with a bit of salt. Add on top of your risotto if desired.
Rice: Risotto rice is a specific kind of rice. I like using arborio rice but I've heard that carnaroli rice is also a great risotto risotto.