Risotto alla Zucca (Butternut Squash Risotto) Recipe

As winter rolls into Northern Italy there is damp chill in the air. The days are short, cold and foggy. Lately the sun has not made an appearance. In fact, it has rained for two weeks straight. On chilly days, a warm risotto hits the spot. In fall and winter Risotto alla Zucca is a popular dish in Northern Italy. “Zucca” is a generic word in Italian for all sorts of pumpkin and squash varieties.  In this recipe I use a butternut squash, but you can certainly use pumpkin as well.

Many risottos use butter during the “mantecatura” process, which refers to the creaming process which occurs once the risotto rice is cooked and the pan is taken off the heat. In this recipe I chose to use ricotta cheese instead of butter. I think ricotta gives this risotto a light and creamy taste. It’s an added bonus that ricotta cheese has waaaay less calories than butter! You can find other risotto recipes here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Italian rice (Arborio, Carnaroli, Roma, etc.)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (room temp)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • 4 cups diced butternut squash or pumpkin (diced into small, uniform cubes)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 large shallots or 1 medium onion (minced)
  • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

HOw to Make Risotto alla zucca

STEP 1: Bring your vegetable stock to a summer. Heat up a frying pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and let it warm up. Add shallots or onions and saute until the become soft, about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Add butternut squash and mix. Saute for a few minutes

Step 3: Add a few ladles of vegetable stock and simmer on a medium heat. Keep simmering and adding vegetable stock until the squash/pumpkin is soft.

Step 4: In a separate frying pan, heat two tbsp of oil. Once the oil is warm add rice and mix until coated in olive oil. Stir frequently and cook the rice (approx. 2-3 minutes) until it becomes translucent. Be careful not to brown the rice!

Step 5: Once rice is translucent, add wine and mix until wine evaporates.

Step 6: Add rice to vegetable mixture then add vegetable broth one ladle full at a time and keep stirring on a medium flame. Keep repeating until the rice is al dente, which means firm but chewy, not mushy.

Step 7: Once rice is cooked, turn off the flame. Add Parmesan cheese and ricotta cheese. Mix thoroughly. Adjust salt and add pepper to taste.

Step 8: Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Risotto alla Zucca, Butternut Squash Risotto

Helpful Tips:

  1. You can substitute butter for ricotta cheese if you like.
  2. For this recipe I used a Muller-Thurgau white wine, (pictured below) which is from Northern Italy. A good Savignon Blanc or Chardonnay will do as well.
  3. A good extra virgin olive oil makes all the difference! I’ve stumbled across this brand (pictured below) and I really like it for everyday cooking.
Print

Risotto alla Zucca (Butternut Squash Risotto)

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Risotto
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 serves 4-6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Italian rice (Arborio, Carnaroli, Roma, etc.)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (room temp)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • 4 cups diced butternut squash or pumpkin (diced into small, uniform cubes)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 large shallots or 1 medium onion (minced)
  • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Bring your vegetable stock to a simmer. Heat up a frying pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and let it warm up. Then add shallots or onions and saute until they become soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add butternut squash and mix. Saute for a few minutes.
  • Add a few ladles of vegetable stock and simmer on a medium heat. Keep simmering and adding vegetable stock until the squash/pumpkin is soft.
  • In a separate frying pan, heat two tbsp of oil. Once the oil is warm add rice and mix until coated in olive oil. Stir frequently and cook the rice (approx. 2-3 minutes) until it becomes translucent. Be careful not to brown the rice!
  • Once rice is translucent, add wine and mix until wine evaporates.
  • Add rice to vegetable mixture then add vegetable broth one ladle full at a time and keep stirring on a medium flame. Keep repeating until the rice is al dente, which means firm but chewy, not mushy.
  • Once rice is cooked, turn off the flame. Add Parmesan cheese and ricotta cheese. Mix thoroughly. Adjust salt and add pepper to taste.
  • Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Risotto can be soupy or have a dryer consistency. It’s all a matter of personal preference. If you prefer the consistency of thick soup, add more vegetable stock and ricotta cheese at the end. Butter can be substituted for ricotta cheese. 
Museo del Novecento, Milan’s Modern Art Museum
Recently, the region of Lombardy has gone from being an orange zone …
Good News! Lombardy Goes from Orange to Yellow Zone
As of this Sunday, December 13, Lombardy goes from being an orange …

Leave a Reply