Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash #Ina Fridays

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For February’s Ina Friday, we are all making main course dishes. I had been wanting to try out a saffron risoto with butternut squash for quite some time. On my previous attempts at making a great Risotto, I always ended up with a good Risotto. Very Good – but not great. So the idea had been on the back burner. I wanted to make a really great one and so I waited for the perfect moment to arrive.

While deciding what to make for this month’s Ina Friday, I chanced upon the recipe for saffron risotto with butternut squash  by Ina. It was the aha moment. Since I have turned vegetarian these days (to some people’s disappointment), I had to make a few changes to the original recipe and wasn’t completely sure that leaving out the pancetta from the original recipe was not going to be the greatest mistake. After all everything’s better with bacon. Since the recipe was calling out to me in its vegetarian form that had taken shape in my mind, I decided to go for it. And I’m glad I did.

The end result was a creamy, aromatic saffron butternut squash risotto and it was by far the best risotto I have ever made. Once again Ina’s recipe did not disappoint, even though I made a lot of changes to the original recipe, it still turned out amazing.


Saffrom Rissoto with butternut squash


I am dedicating this post in memory of our Blogger friend Chaya’s daughter. I did not know her personally, but I got to know her through Chaya and her touching post about her daughter’s passing. Our thoughts and Prayers are with you, Chaya. We are here for you.


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Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash #Ina Fridays


  • 1 medium butternut squash [peeled and cut into cubes]
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • 1/4 C shallots finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the squash on a baking pan and toss it with the olive oil, a pinch of salt, generously sprinkle pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing once, until very tender and caramelized.
  3. Heat the vegetable broth in a small covered saucepan. Once hot, leave it on to simmer.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter and sauté the shallots on medium-low heat until the shallots are translucent.
  5. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Now add Add 3/4 C of stock to the rice plus the saffron, salt to taste and generous sprinkling of pepper.
  6. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 1/2 to 3/4 C at a time, stirring every few minutes.
  7. With each addition,cook until the liquid absorbs and the mixture looks a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente. About 30 minutes in all.
  8. Switch off the heat, add the squash and parmesan. Mix to combine and Serve hot.

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Comments 16

  1. Thanks for your most kind thoughts about our loss and our daughter. I loved being in this group since it started and the support that is coming my way now, just proves, we are so much more than a food blogging group – we are feeling and loving people.

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      Chaya, it gladdens me to hear your voice. Yes, we are more than just a food blogging group. We all may not have met each other, but we are friends. Sending you hugs!

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  2. I’m not a vegetarian and doubt if I’d ever be one, but I could easily eat vegetarian; and in fact do quite a bit. Just because I often like meatless dishes. Like this one! What lovely flavor — love the idea of the butternut squash. Really good stuff — thanks.

  3. You can’t believe how timely this recipe is for me. Just yesterday I finally broke down and spent $10 on a pinch of saffron. I’ve never had it. Made a shrimp in saffron cream sauce for dinner last night and I’m still not over it. OMG, delicious. I can NOT wait to give this a try. And with crazy good saffron and butternut squash, who needs that salty meat. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe Maureen. I’ll be making this one soon.

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      Thank you, Minnie. I am still cooking the occasional meat dish for the family and will definitely share the interesting ones. So don’t be sad.

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      Mireya, The family loves the meat. It’s just me. I promised them I will cook meat for them so now they are fine with the idea of my vegetarian status :))

  4. Ansh, your risotto looks amazing! I’m so glad to hear that it turned out well for you and you can say you’ve made a fantastic risotto. This looks like a recipe that I would love to try, perhaps one day. We aren’t vegetarians, but I’m not a big fan of meat and would probably prefer your delicious vegetarian version.

    PS I’m sorry if this comment posted multiple times, it kept giving me an error message when I tried to submit!

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      I am sorry you had trouble posting the comment, Anna. It has been fun turning a vegetarian. My family is not vegetarian but they also enjoy the meals I make without meat. sometimes they even forget there is no meat in the dish :))

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