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Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash Recipe

This delightful orzo risotto with winter squash is perfect for a hearty winter meal. Combining the rich flavors of orzo pasta, winter squash, and parmesan cheese, this recipe offers a dish that's comforting and satisfying. The addition of butter, onions, and shallots enhances the taste and gives it a rich aroma that fills the kitchen.

Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash Recipe

Photos of Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash Recipe

This recipe uses orzo, a type of pasta that resembles large grains of rice. It's widely used in Italian and Greek cuisine and can be found in the pasta aisle of most supermarkets. Additionally, it calls for butternut squash, a type of winter squash that has sweet, nutty flavor. It can be found in the produce section of your local supermarket. Lastly, you might want to grab some shallots, a delicate, slightly sweet member of the onion family.

Ingredients for Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash

Unsalted butter: Used to sauté the onion and shallot, it also adds a subtle creamy note to the dish.

Orzo pasta: It is the main ingredient of this dish, providing a satisfying texture.

Vegetable broth: It is used to cook the orzo, enhancing its flavor.

Parmesan cheese: Used for its rich, salty flavor and also adds a creamy texture.

White onion: It adds a slightly sweet flavor.

Shallot: It adds a delicate, slightly sweet flavor.

Butternut squash: It is the star of this dish, providing a sweet, nutty flavor.

Salt: Used to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.

Pepper: Adds a bit of heat to the dish.

Spices: Add according to your preference to give the dish a unique flavor.

One reader, Genny Garvin says:

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This orzo risotto with winter squash recipe is a game-changer! The creamy texture and rich flavors make it a comforting and satisfying dish. The combination of the orzo and butternut squash is simply divine. It's a must-try for anyone looking for a delicious and hearty meal.

Genny Garvin

Techniques for Crafting the Perfect Orzo Risotto

How to sauté onion and shallot: In a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and translucent.

How to cook orzo in broth: Add the uncooked orzo to the saucepan and stir to coat it with the butter and onion mixture. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the orzo is tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.

How to stir in parmesan and butternut squash: Once the orzo is cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese and the cubed butternut squash. Cover the pan and let it rest for 5 to 8 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the squash to soften.

How to season with salt and pepper: After the resting period, uncover the orzo risotto and season it with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley for a burst of flavor.

How To Make Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash

A delightful dish of orzo risotto served in a winter squash! This meal is light and creamy with a well-rounded flavor combination you’d absolutely love!

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes



  • 4 tbspunsalted butter
  • cupsorzo pastauncooked, whole wheat
  • cupsvegetable broth
  • ¾cupParmesan cheesegrated
  • ½white onion
  • 1shallot
  • 1butternut squashmedium, roasted
  • saltto taste
  • pepperto taste
  • spicesto taste


  1. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven on the stove. Sautée onion and shallot with the butter until tender.

  2. Add uncooked orzo and stir to coat. Pour in both cans of broth. Bring to boil and cook until orzo is tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan and butternut squash and cover. Let rest 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and tamari or parsley.


  • Calories: 324.32kcal
  • Fat: 16.90g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.46g
  • Trans Fat: 0.47g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 4.47g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.74g
  • Carbohydrates: 33.34g
  • Fiber: 3.28g
  • Sugar: 3.98g
  • Protein: 11.52g
  • Cholesterol: 43.17mg
  • Sodium: 688.21mg
  • Calcium: 284.37mg
  • Potassium: 438.84mg
  • Iron: 1.34mg
  • Vitamin A: 583.77µg
  • Vitamin C: 19.43mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Mastering Orzo Risotto

When preparing the butternut squash, make sure to peel it thoroughly and cut it into small, even cubes. This will not only ensure that it cooks evenly, but also that it easily blends with the orzo pasta and absorbs the flavors of the broth and parmesan. Additionally, when sautéing the onion and shallot, keep the heat on medium and stir frequently to prevent them from burning and to bring out their natural sweetness, which will add depth to the overall flavor of the risotto.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Orzo Risotto Recipe

Plan ahead: Before starting the recipe, gather all the necessary ingredients and equipment to streamline the cooking process.

Prep in advance: Chop, dice, and measure all the ingredients beforehand to save time during the actual cooking process.

Multi-task: While the orzo is cooking, use that time to prepare the butternut squash or clean up the kitchen to maximize efficiency.

Use pre-cut squash: Consider using pre-cut butternut squash to save time on peeling and chopping, if available.

One-pot cooking: Opt for a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven to cook the orzo risotto with winter squash in a single pot, minimizing cleanup and saving time.

Substitute Ingredients For Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash Recipe

  • orzo pasta - Substitute with Arborio rice: Arborio rice has a similar texture and starch content to orzo, making it a great substitute for creating a creamy risotto-like dish.

  • vegetable broth - Substitute with chicken broth: Chicken broth can add a richer flavor profile to the dish, complementing the other ingredients and providing a savory base for the risotto.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with pecorino Romano: Pecorino Romano offers a similar salty and nutty flavor to parmesan, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

  • white onion - Substitute with yellow onion: Yellow onions have a slightly sweeter flavor compared to white onions, and they work well in risotto recipes, adding depth and aroma to the dish.

  • shallot - Substitute with garlic: Garlic can provide a pungent and aromatic flavor similar to shallots, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

  • butternut squash - Substitute with acorn squash: Acorn squash has a sweet and nutty flavor similar to butternut squash, making it a suitable alternative for this recipe.

Presentation Tips for Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the orzo risotto with winter squash, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing plate. Use edible flowers and microgreens to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  2. Incorporate texture: Add a crispy element to the dish, such as toasted pumpkin seeds or hazelnuts, to provide a delightful contrast to the creamy orzo risotto and tender winter squash.

  3. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of minimalism by allowing some of the plate to remain empty, creating a sense of balance and sophistication in the presentation.

  4. Highlight the butternut squash: Showcase the star ingredient by delicately arranging the roasted butternut squash in a visually appealing manner, perhaps in a fan-like arrangement or in small, bite-sized cubes for an artistic touch.

  5. Artful drizzling: Use a balsamic reduction or truffle oil to create elegant and artistic drizzles on the plate, adding both flavor and visual interest to the presentation.

  6. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the dish with freshly chopped chives or thyme to add a burst of color and a hint of freshness to the final presentation.

  7. Consider the plate shape: Choose a plate that complements the colors of the dish and allows the orzo risotto and winter squash to take center stage, enhancing the overall visual appeal.

Essential Tools for Making Orzo Risotto

  • Sauté pan: A sauté pan is essential for cooking the onions and shallots with the butter.
  • Heavy saucepan or Dutch oven: This is used for cooking the orzo and squash, as well as for simmering the risotto.
  • Wooden spoon: A wooden spoon is ideal for stirring the orzo and squash as they cook.
  • Cheese grater: Use a cheese grater to grate the parmesan cheese for the risotto.
  • Knife: A sharp knife is needed for cutting the butternut squash into cubes.
  • Cutting board: Use a cutting board to safely cut and prepare the butternut squash.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: These are essential for accurately measuring the ingredients, such as the vegetable broth and spices.
  • Lid or cover: A lid or cover is needed to cover the risotto and let it rest after cooking.

Storing and Freezing Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash

  • Let the orzo risotto cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze the risotto, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Press out any excess air and seal tightly. Label the container with the date and contents.
  • Frozen orzo risotto can be stored for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat the thawed or refrigerated risotto in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If the risotto seems dry, add a splash of vegetable broth or water to help loosen it up and restore its creamy texture.
  • For best results, add a pat of butter and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese when reheating the risotto. This will help revive the flavors and maintain the dish's richness.
  • If you plan to freeze the risotto, consider undercooking the orzo slightly (about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions) before adding the butternut squash. This will help prevent the pasta from becoming mushy when reheated.
  • When reheating frozen risotto, you may need to add more liquid than when reheating refrigerated risotto, as the freezing process can cause the pasta to absorb more moisture.

How To Reheat Leftover Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash

  • To reheat leftover orzo risotto with winter squash, start by placing the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a splash of vegetable broth or water to help rehydrate the pasta and prevent it from drying out during the reheating process.
  • Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel or microwave-safe lid, and heat on high power for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through. The damp paper towel will help create steam, which will revive the texture of the orzo and keep the squash moist.
  • If you prefer to reheat your leftover orzo risotto on the stovetop, place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add a splash of broth or water, and stir frequently until the dish is heated through and the liquid is absorbed. This method allows you to control the moisture content more easily and prevents the orzo from becoming mushy.
  • For a crispy twist, reheat the orzo risotto in a skillet with a bit of butter or olive oil. Spread the leftovers in an even layer and let them sit undisturbed for a few minutes until a golden-brown crust forms on the bottom. Stir and continue cooking until heated through, adding more broth or water if needed to prevent sticking.
  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to taste the orzo risotto and adjust the seasoning as needed. The flavors may have mellowed during storage, so a sprinkle of salt, pepper, or parmesan cheese can help revive the dish. If the squash has become too soft, you can add some freshly roasted or sautéed squash to restore the texture contrast.

Interesting Fact About Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash

The orzo risotto with winter squash recipe is a delightful alternative to traditional risotto, offering a unique texture and flavor. The orzo pasta provides a satisfying chewiness, while the butternut squash adds a subtle sweetness and vibrant color to the dish. This recipe is a great way to incorporate seasonal produce into your meals, and it's a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or a side dish. Additionally, the combination of flavors and textures makes it a comforting and satisfying meal for chilly winter evenings.

Is Making Orzo Risotto at Home Cost-Effective?

This orzo risotto with winter squash recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, such as orzo, vegetable broth, and butternut squash, are generally affordable and easy to find. The dish offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, making it a satisfying and budget-friendly option for a family meal. The approximate cost for a household of four people would be around $15-$20. Overall Verdict: 8.

Is This Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash Healthy?

This orzo risotto with winter squash recipe has both healthy and unhealthy aspects. Let's break it down:

Healthy components:

  • Butternut squash is a nutrient-dense vegetable, rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants
  • Onion and shallot provide flavor and some beneficial compounds like quercetin
  • Vegetable broth is a lower-sodium alternative to chicken or beef broth

Less healthy aspects:

  • The recipe calls for a significant amount of butter, which is high in saturated fat
  • Parmesan cheese adds flavor but also contributes to the dish's saturated fat and sodium content
  • Orzo, being a refined pasta, is a source of simple carbohydrates and lacks the fiber of whole grain alternatives

While the inclusion of butternut squash is commendable, the overall recipe could be made healthier with a few tweaks.

To enhance the nutritional value of this dish, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of butter used and replace some of it with heart-healthy olive oil
  • Opt for a lower-sodium vegetable broth to help control the dish's salt content
  • Experiment with whole grain or legume-based pasta alternatives to boost the fiber and protein content
  • Incorporate additional vegetables, such as kale or spinach, to increase the nutrient density
  • Use a lighter hand with the Parmesan cheese or choose a lower-fat alternative
  • Consider adding herbs and spices like sage, thyme, or nutmeg to enhance flavor without relying on excessive salt or fat

By making these adjustments, you can transform this comforting risotto into a more balanced and nourishing meal that still satisfies your taste buds.

Editor's Opinion on This Winter Squash Orzo Risotto

The recipe for orzo risotto with winter squash has great potential. The combination of orzo, butternut squash, and parmesan creates a rich and comforting dish. However, I would suggest adding specific spices like nutmeg or sage to enhance the flavors. Additionally, incorporating a splash of white wine while sautéing the onions and shallots can add depth to the dish. Overall, with a few tweaks, this recipe has the makings of a delicious and satisfying meal.

Enhance Your Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Toss Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze and crispy pancetta for a savory and tangy side dish.
Garlic Parmesan Green Beans: Sauté green beans with garlic and sprinkle with parmesan for a flavorful and cheesy side dish.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Roast carrots with a honey glaze and sprinkle with fresh herbs for a sweet and savory side dish.

Similar Recipes to Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This classic soup is perfect for a cozy night in. The combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy texture will warm you up from the inside out.
Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon: For a healthy and flavorful dinner, try this honey mustard glazed salmon. The sweet and tangy glaze pairs perfectly with the tender and flaky fish.
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding: Looking for a delicious and nutritious dessert? This mango coconut chia pudding is a refreshing and tropical treat that's easy to make and perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Perfect Appetizers and Desserts for Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash

Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your taste buds with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. The perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Crispy Zucchini Fries: Indulge in the crispy goodness of these zucchini fries, lightly seasoned and perfectly fried to golden perfection. A delicious and unique twist on a classic appetizer.
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in the rich and decadent flavors of this warm, gooey dessert. The contrast between the velvety smooth center and the slightly crisp exterior will leave your taste buds dancing with delight.
Apple Crisp: Savor the comforting aroma of cinnamon and baked apples as you dig into this delightful dessert. The combination of tender, caramelized fruit and crunchy, buttery topping is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Why trust this Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful twist on traditional risotto, using orzo pasta to create a creamy and satisfying dish. The combination of butternut squash and parmesan cheese adds a rich and savory flavor, while the use of vegetable broth ensures a wholesome and vegetarian-friendly meal. The careful sautéing of onion and shallot infuses the dish with aromatic depth, and the final seasoning with salt and pepper guarantees a well-balanced taste. Trust in this recipe for a comforting and flavorful experience that will surely impress your taste buds.

Share your thoughts and experiences with making Orzo Risotto with Winter Squash in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
Can I use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth?
Yes, you can use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth for a slightly different flavor profile.
Can I substitute the butternut squash with a different type of squash?
Absolutely! You can use acorn squash, kabocha squash, or any other winter squash variety for a similar result.
Can I add some protein to this dish, such as chicken or shrimp?
Certainly! Grilled chicken, sautéed shrimp, or even some cooked and crumbled sausage would be delicious additions to this orzo risotto.
How can I make this dish vegan?
To make this dish vegan, you can substitute the butter with a plant-based alternative and use a vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.
Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the orzo risotto with winter squash ahead of time and reheat it gently on the stove with a splash of broth to refresh it before serving.

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