What’s For Dinner: Risotto with Butternut Squash, Leeks, and Basil

Yesterday I spent the afternoon making risotto.   Creamy and comforting, there’s really nothing like it on a cold January evening.  There are so many different and delicious ways to prepare it and paired with a green salad it’s a perfectly satisfying dinner.  Or, at least I thought so.  The baby ate it (Bonus!  I didn’t have to run in through the food processor) but he eats crayons too.  Manu asked what it was and claimed he didn’t like it before even trying it.  I convinced him to take a bite but afterward he said ” I do not like that risotto” and spit the second bite on the floor.  Whatever.  It only took forever to make.  Riz didn’t eat it either.  He would have, I’m sure, (it was really tasty) but I was asleep before he got home so I doubt he even knew I made it.  I saw a cereal bowl in the sink this morning too.  Whatever.  It only took forever to make. Risotto doesn’t reheat well anyway. For all of you who have children who appreciate good food, a husband who gets home from work before 10pm, or if you’d just like to treat yourself, I’d try this recipe.  It’s a good one!


Risotto with Butternut Squash, Leeks, and Basil


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash (from 2 1/4 pounds squash)
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch-wide slices leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 14-ounce cans (or more) vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)


  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add squash and sauté until beginning to soften and brown around edges, about 5 minutes. Transfer squash to medium bowl.
  • Reduce heat to medium; add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, leeks, and thyme to same pot and stir until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 1 cup broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining broth by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Return squash to pot. Continue to cook until rice is just tender but still very creamy, stirring gently and often, about 10 minutes longer (about 25 minutes total cooking time). Remove from heat. Stir in basil and 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl and serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Recipe and photo from Bon Appetit Magazine December 2010


2 thoughts on “What’s For Dinner: Risotto with Butternut Squash, Leeks, and Basil

  1. I’m willing to try anything with butternut squash in it. Might switch out the leeks for shallots though. Have you perfected the art of the risotto stir? I’m so impatient, I never quite get it right. I’ll have to resign myself to the fact that the meal would probably just work for me and Jeff. If M won’t eat it, there’s no hope in hell that mine will.

    • Although I’m pretty patient, I’ve yet to perfect it and I may never. It doesn’t help that I only have the motivation to make it once in a blue moon. I’ve found a couple things in particular seem to help quite a bit: 1. wooden spoon 2. starting to taste around the 14 min mark (I have a tendency to over cook it) and 3. not paying too much mind to the cooking times in the recipe. i keep them in mind, but the texture can be so finicky and different each time it’s better just to stop when it tastes right.

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