Recipe: Winter Squash and Mushroom Risotto

Post by Olivia Blodgett, Registered Dietitian

This is another recipe from my favorite cooking class we used to offer, Autumn Harvest. We served this risotto alongside the roast chicken and veggies. We added some parmesan cheese in at the end but I have included the vegan version with cashew cream, as well. Honestly, the recipe is still nice and creamy without either addition. The long, slow process of cooking and stirring the arborio rice with the hot broth releases starches that contribute to a very super creamy, savory and comforting final product. If you have never made risotto before, don’t be intimdated! It’s actually quite simple and not that labor intense. It just requires a little bit of patience but I find the stirring and waiting process very meditative. Enjoy!


(adapted from

Serves 4


5 cups vegetable broth

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil            

3 medium shallots, thinly sliced

3 cups chopped peeled butternut, hubbard, red kuri or kabocha squash (1/2-inch pieces)

2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/8 tsp crumbled saffron threads, (optional)

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional) OR 1/2 cup cashew cream*


  1. Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in squash and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper and saffron (if using); cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add rice; stir until translucent, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy, 30 to 40 minutes total. (You may have some broth left.) Remove from the heat and stir in cheese or cashew cream.

*To make cashew cream, blend 1/2 cup raw cashews with 2 Tbsp of water, ading more water if needed to keep the blender moving. Let blend for 2-3 minutes or until very creamy.

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