Butternut Squash Risotto with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love risotto, but I don't love all of the fat and heaviness of the traditional recipe, so I found a more Southwestern flair that gives it a lot of big taste and richness with a whole lot less fat, and better fats. Perfect as a side dish to roasted or steamed meats or a Mexican or Spanish stewed meat. Risotto needs constant attention, so prepare something easy as a main dish or something that can be cooked earlier and left to stand, or put in the warmer.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Additional Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
8 servings


  • 1 medium butternut squash

  • 1 medium tomatillo, husked and chopped

  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 dried pasilla chile peppers

  • ½ dried red chile pepper

  • ¾ cup beef broth

  • 10 cups chicken broth

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed

  • 2 cups Arborio rice

  • ¼ cup grated Manchego cheese

  • ¼ cup Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried

  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Slice butternut squash in half; scoop out seeds and pulp in the lower center and discard. Place squash, cut-sides down, on the prepared baking sheet.

  3. Bake in the preheated oven until tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

  4. Scoop squash flesh into a blender. Add tomatillo, onion, and garlic. De-stem and de-seed the dried chiles; add to the blender. Pour in 3/4 cup beef broth. Puree until fully integrated, 2 to 3 minutes. You can add a little more broth if the squash gets too dry, but don't flood it. It should be thickish. Set aside.

  5. Pour chicken broth into a 2-quart pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.

  6. Heat canola and olive oil in a large, medium sided pan next to the hot broth over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes. Set a ladle and a stirring spoon out next to the stove.

  7. Add a ladleful of simmering chicken broth to the rice; stir constantly with the spoon, allowing it to simmer until broth has mostly evaporated. Continue adding ladlefuls of broth and stirring it in until most of the liquid has evaporated, adding the blended squash mixture after about 10 minutes of cooking. Continue cooking and stirring in broth until rice swells up slowly and is tender, yet firm to the bite, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in Manchego cheese and 1/2 of the pumpkin seeds.

  8. Pour into serving bowls and top with remaining pumpkin seeds and paprika; season with salt and pepper.

Cook's Notes:

You can use 1 fresh seeded and stemmed pasilla chile instead of 2 dried.

Try to use Arbequina olive oil, or high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

423 Calories
13g Fat
69g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 423
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 1587mg 69%
Total Carbohydrate 69g 25%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 35mg 174%
Calcium 102mg 8%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 671mg 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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