Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts

Creamy butternut squash risotto in a grey bowl.

Sugared Walnuts. I love Sugared Walnuts. Read: I love butter and brown sugar. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until writing this post that I realized, whoops, they actually weren’t sugared walnuts. I mistakenly used pecans. It wasn’t a bad mistake, necessarily. We all known it’s less about the nuts and more about the butter and brown sugar.

Regardless of using pecans or walnuts, this roasted butternut squash risotto had so much rich flavor and texture (think brown sugar, wine, chicken stock, onion, bacon, garlic, lemon thyme). The combination of sweet and savory was perfect!

Yet another wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is light. Kind of. In one serving, there are 257 calories and 10 grams of fat.

The only problem here is that “one serving” is definitely not enough for me. Additionally, who really sprinkles this with only 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese? Sheesh.

Let’s just say it has light potential.

Creamy butternut squash risotto in a bowl.
A picture of Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts


This creamy butternut squash risotto recipe is a simple, vegetarian recipe featuring roasted squash, walnuts, and thyme. Simple, easy, and delicious!


  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, finely chopped (I used bacon)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup chardonnay
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon thyme or 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Arrange nuts in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring twice. Place nuts in a bowl. Drizzle butter over warm nuts; sprinkle with sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss well to coat.
  3. Combine squash and 1 tablespoon oil, tossing to coat. Arrange squash in a single layer on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until squash is just tender. Remove from pan; stir in garlic. Set aside.
  4. Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  5. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pancetta to saucepan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in squash, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with cheese and nuts.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: butternut squash risotto, sugared walnuts, risotto with walnuts

Recipe Card powered by Tasty Recipes logo

If I were to make this again, I would roast the squash longer. Half the eye appeal would be the nice brown roast marks on the squash.

Do you ever make risotto?

What are your favorite nuts to use in baking and cooking? I didn’t think I liked pecans, but, surprise! a quick dip in butter and brown sugar makes all the difference.

The post Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

Back to blog