Golden Butternut & Crispy Sage Risotto

This risotto was originally only going to be made so I could make arancini – those crunchy yummy risotto balls with a hidden centre surprise that are perfect for serving at parties. The idea was to make…

Actually- nope- SPOILERS!

You’ll have to wait and read my next post to see what I did with them. They’re cutey cute and yum yum yum….

But first, I made this risotto. I like to make a double batch of risotto if I know I’m going to make arancini, which means we can eat something yummy the night before they’re needed. If you chill the rice quickly by laying it out flat to cool & getting it into the fridge quickly, it stays safe to re-heat the next day.

Anyway, I hadn’t planned to make a post about this recipe, but when I made it, it was so pretty, and SO delicious that I just had to share it.

The colours are pure joy. The risotto has both turmeric & saffron added to it, which might seem like overkill, but it was all part of the plan for the next recipe. The combination of the two is not only beautiful, it somehow makes the flavours even more joyful. 

The butternut squash is roasted with a hint of chilli powder and whole cloves of garlic, which then get squished out of their papery skins and mixed into the risotto to further enrich the flavour. Then to add a yummy cheesy Umami flavour that would normally be given by the addition of Parmesan, I instead stir in a few teaspoons of miso and some Nutritional Yeast flakes.

The final touch is the addition of some crispy fried sage leaves. Their savoury notes and crispy shards are the perfect counterpoint to this luxurious & comforting risotto.

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Golden Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto with Crispy Sage
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins

A gorgeously golden vegan risotto coloured with saffron & turmeric, finished with roasted butternut squash & crispy sage.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Louise-Claire Cayzer
For the Butternut Squash
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash Peeled & Cubed.
  • 6-8 cloves garlic keep whole
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp mild chilli powder or to taste
  • pinch salt
For the Risotto
  • 400 grams Arborio Rice
  • 1 medium White Onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional but nice! add a bit extra stock if not using)
  • 500 ml veggie stock or use hot water with a good stock cube or boullion powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch saffron
  • 2 Tsp white miso
  • 2 TBS nutritional yeast
For the Crispy Sage
  • 12-16 leaves fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
For the Butternut Squash
  1. Preheat the oven whilst chopping the squash to 200C/ Gas Mark 6

  2. Tip the Squash & garlic cloves into a large baking tin. Drizzle with the olive oil & sprinkle over the chilli powder and salt

  3. Pop into the oven and get on with the risotto

For the Risotto
  1. Put the stock into a saucepan and keep warm on a low flame/heat. Add the saffron to the stock which will release its lovely golden colour and fragrance.

  2. Add the chopped onions to a large saucepan with the olive oil and gently sautee on a low heat until translucent.

  3. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil.

  4. Add the white wine to the pan and stir until it absorbs into the rice

  5. Now, stir in a ladle of stock and stir until absorbs.

  6. Keep stirring and ladling stock until the rice is soft with a slight bight. This should take around 40 mins.You don't want a chalky centre, but neither do you want a sloppy mess. 

  7. Stir in the turmeric, which will create a gorgeous bright yellow colour.

  8. Remove the Butternut squash from the oven, it should now be soft with  caramelised edges and carefully pop all the now gloriously squishy garlic out of its papery case.

  9. Give the garlic a good smoosh and mix thoroughly into the risotto.

  10. Add the miso and nutritional yeast, and stir. 

  11. Taste & add more miso or nutritional yeast & a little salt & pepper to taste. 

For the Crispy Sage
  1. Carefully fry the sage leaves in a little oil until they're crisped up. Pop onto a plate until you need them. 

To Serve
  1. Pile the risotto onto a plate, scattering over the butternut squash cubes. Arrange the crispy sage leaves over and serve proudly!

Recipe Notes

Do try to get fresh sage leaves for this, they add a lovely savoury herbal edge that is divine. 

I grow sage outside my back door, it's not only pretty with its silvery leaves almost all year, the bees love it when it blooms in summer!  It's also really easy to grow in a pot on a balcony if you only have a little bit of space. 

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  • Reply
    Jack O'Lantern Butternut Squash Risotto Balls | Poppy and the Bees
    October 5, 2017 at 7:30 am

    […] So remember my last post… , the one that I was being all coy about what was coming up in this one…(What? You don’t – go read it, you’ll need to, to make this recipe!)  […]

  • Reply
    Kat (The Baking Explorer)
    October 31, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I really need to try and grow my own sage as I love the smell and taste of it, and it goes so well with squash!

    • Reply
      November 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      I love having sage in the back garden. I let it flower every year and the bees adore it too!

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