The ultimate makeover: Risotto with squash & sage

The ultimate makeover: Risotto with squash & sage

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(10 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 4
Angela's ultimate version of the Italian classic is lower in fat but still wonderfully creamy

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal517
  • fat15g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs85g
  • sugars10g
  • fibre5g
  • protein15g
  • salt0.37g
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  • 700g piece of butternut squash
  • 2l low-salt vegetable stock (I used Kallo)
  • 4 slices dried porcini mushroom
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped (plus extra leaves to garnish)



    Popular in both Italian and British cookery, sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly…

  • 2 thyme sprigs


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 350g carnaroli rice (or arborio rice)
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 2 tbsp light mascarpone


  1. Halve the squash lengthways, then scoop out the seeds. Peel, then cut the flesh into about 2.5cm pieces. Pour the stock into a pan, add the porcini, then bring to a gentle simmer.

  2. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a heavy, wide pan. Add the onion, garlic, sage, thyme and squash, then gently fry for about 10 mins until the squash is almost tender, stirring occasionally, so it doesn’t stick or burn. With the heat on medium, tip the rice into the squash. Keep stirring for 3-4 mins to toast it without colouring. Pour in the wine and stir everything for 1 min.

  3. Start to add the hot stock (leaving the porcini behind) – this process should take 18-20 mins, so put a timer on if it helps. Stir in 1½ ladles and adjust the heat so it simmers. Keep stirring and scraping down the sides. Once the first lot of stock has been absorbed, add another ladleful, continuing to stir to keep the risotto creamy. Continue adding and stirring in a ladleful of stock as each previous one is absorbed (it’s ready for more when you drag the spoon across the bottom of the pan and it leaves a clear line).

  4. As the last of the stock goes in (keep a little back) check if the rice is ready – it should be soft with a bit of chew in the middle – and the consistency fluid. Season with pepper.

  5. Take the pan off the heat. Add a splash of the stock to keep the risotto moist, scatter over the parsley and half the Parmesan, then spoon on the mascarpone. With the lid on, let the risotto sit for 3-4 mins to rest.

  6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan. Add the sage leaves, then fry for a few secs until starting to colour. Transfer to kitchen paper with a slotted spoon to drain. Spoon the risotto into bowls, then scatter over the rest of the Parmesan and the crisp sage leaves.

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Comments, questions and tips

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11th Jan, 2018
I followed the recipe exactly, even down to the Kallo stock cubes. First off, the quantities specified need much more than a “heavy, wide pan”. Partway through adding the stock I had to transfer to a large wok as there was no way it was going to fit in my largest frying pan (38cm). Next, if you cut the squash to the dimensions specified (2.5cm) and cook for the specified time, the squash will be still hard. I ended up having to cut mine down to 2cm cubes and extended to cooking time by 50% and they were still very much ‘al-dente’. The end result was not great - and bear in mind I followed it to the letter. Severely lacking in salt and pretty bland. The remaining two portions went straight in the bin.
5th Jun, 2012
Delicious, didnt put the mushroom or sage in and topped with feta instead of Parmesan but really yummy and quantities of everything just right.
23rd May, 2012
Very tasty. Husband not keen on veggie dishes, but he thought this was excellent and managed seconds. Lots though, enough for at least 6. Looks like we will be having it again for lunch tomorrow.
fionablandford's picture
20th Aug, 2010
I made this very succesfuly for a friend tonight - as we are both on heathy eating - i roasted the squash in the oven with the sage leaves, some garlic and a little oil and added this at the last minunte to the rice. I also just had parmesan cheese - no marscapone and it worked really well. will def make again and friend has already requsted it again! Both stuffed now!
10th Sep, 2009
The risotto was lovely all the flavours worked really well together. next time i will make the squash pieces smaller as they could have done with being cooked a little longer i didnt add the mushrooms and or the mascarpone and it was still delicious.
23rd Aug, 2009
This is really very good. I didn't put the marscaponi in and it was still lovely. Worth the effort
15th Apr, 2009
Made this last night - delicious but enough for about 6 people!
31st Mar, 2009
Absolutely fantastic! I've made this a number of times now - my husband keeps on asking for it... I've added leek to fry in with the onion, and I also, when serving up, put a blob of mascarpone on the top to decorate with the crispy sage leaves.
30th Mar, 2009
I made this for 2, just halved most of the quantities. Didn't have mascarpone or sage so used Philly with Basil instead. It was also my first attempt at making risotto and I was really pleased with the result - wasn't expecting my carnivore partner to like it, but he ate every bit and said he enjoyed it. Looking forward to trying a mushroom or primivera risotto next, but will definitely make this again.
12th Mar, 2009
Can this be frozen?


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