Creamy Kale Risotto with Butternut Squash

Creamy Kale Risotto with Butternut Squash
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When it comes to comfort food, few dishes rival the creamy richness of a well-made risotto. With its velvety texture and hearty ingredients, risotto has the power to warm both the body and soul. I make Kale Risotto a lot in my kitchen. On a recent trip, I had Butternut Squash Risotto at the hotel restaurant, which was so creamy and flavorful. When I returned home, I blended the two ingredients to make a Kale and Butternut Squash Risotto.

This creamy risotto is bursting with seasonal flavors and nourishing ingredients.

Ingredients for Creamy Kale Risotto with Butternut Squash

Top clockwise of clear glass bowls filled with - vegetable broth, chopped carrots, chopped kale, rice, minced garlic, white wine, chopped onion, shaved parmesan cheese, and butter.

  • Butter
  • Onion, finely chopped
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Arborio rice
  • White wine – such as a sauvignon blanc or Pinot Grigio
  • Vegetable broth, warmed
  • Butternut squash, diced
  • Fresh Kale leaves, stems removed and chopped – curly or lacinato kale 
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Special equipment:

Dutch oven or large deep skillet to pot

Sharp knife or food processor to chop the vegetables.

How to make Kale and Butternut Squash Risotto

  1. Prepare the Ingredients: Start by dicing the butternut squash into small cubes. Then chop the kale, removing any tough stems. Mince the garlic and finely chop the onion.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics: In a Dutch oven or large deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté 3-4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté approx. 30 seconds. 
  3. Add the Arborio Rice and white wine to the pot. Over medium simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. This helps to infuse the rice with bold flavor of the wine.
  4. Now add the cubed butternut squash, sage and 1 cup of the broth. Bring to a simmer while stirring gently and allow the rice to absorb the liquid, about 5 minutes. 
  5. Add remaining broth one cup at a time, stir and allow the liquid to absorb each time, about 5 minutes per cup.
  6. When adding the last cup of broth, add the kale also and simmer about 5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the kale is wilted.
  7. Finish with Parmesan: Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese, allowing it to melt into the risotto, adding a luxurious creaminess.
  8. Season to Taste: Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  9. Serve and Enjoy: Spoon the kale and butternut squash risotto into individual bowls, garnishing with extra Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve hot and savor each comforting bite.
Kale and butternut squash risotto in a dutch oven.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  1. Seasonal Goodness: Kale and butternut squash are quintessential autumn/winter ingredients, offering a burst of color and flavor to this dish. Enjoy the best of the season’s produce in a single, satisfying meal.
  2. Nourishing and Satisfying: Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, this risotto is as nourishing as it is delicious. The combination of hearty vegetables and creamy rice will leave you feeling satisfied and content. 
  3. Versatile and Adaptable: While this recipe calls for kale and butternut squash, feel free to experiment with your favorite seasonal vegetables. Mushrooms, spinach, Swiss chard, leafy greens,  or roasted carrots would all make excellent additions or substitutions. This dish makes for a perfect vegetarian main course. 
  4. Perfect for Entertaining: Whether you’re hosting a cozy dinner party or simply craving a comforting meal, this risotto is sure to impress. Its elegant presentation and rich flavors make it a standout dish for any occasion.
  5. A Labor of Love: While risotto requires a bit of patience and attention, the end result is well worth the effort. There’s something deeply satisfying about the process of slowly stirring the rice to creamy perfection—a labor intensive labor of love that yields delicious rewards.
  6. Vegan version – substitute Parmesan cheese with Vegan Parmesan Cheese. 

Kale and butternut squash risotto in a white bowl.

Rice

Arborio rice is the gold standard for making risotto due to its unique characteristics that result in the creamy texture and rich flavor typical of this Italian dish. Here’s why Arborio rice is preferred over white rice for risotto:

  1. High Starch Content: Arborio rice is a short-grain rice variety with a high starch content. When cooked, the grains release starch, creating the creamy consistency essential to a good risotto. This starchiness helps bind the grains together while still allowing them to maintain their shape.
  2. Absorption: Arborio rice has the ability to absorb liquid slowly and evenly. This gradual absorption process allows the rice to cook uniformly while absorbing the flavors of the broth or stock being used in the risotto, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish.
  3. Texture: The texture of Arborio rice is ideal for risotto. It remains firm to the bite (al dente) while still being creamy and smooth. This balance of texture is crucial for achieving the desired consistency of risotto.
  4. Creaminess: The starch released by Arborio rice during cooking creates a natural creaminess without the need for heavy creams or excessive stirring. This creaminess is characteristic of a well-made risotto and contributes to its luxurious mouthfeel.
  5. Resistance to Overcooking: Arborio rice is less likely to become mushy when cooked for an extended period, making it forgiving for novice cooks. It maintains its integrity while absorbing the liquid.

Storage

Store leftover risotto in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For best results, consume within 1-2 days, but it can be stored for up to 5 days. 

Can I freeze this risotto dish? While I have not personally frozen this dish, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, remove from the freezer and allow to defrost in refrigerator overnight. The texture or creaminess will not be the same as the rice might dry out. If this happens, I would suggest adding a little broth while reheating. Reheat on the stovetop or microwave.

Conclusion

With its creamy texture, vibrant colors, and irresistible flavors, Kale and Butternut Squash Risotto is a true celebration of seasonal ingredients. Whether enjoyed as a hearty weeknight main dish or served as the star of your next gathering, this dish is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Bon Appetit!

Creamy Kale and Butternut squash risotto in a white bowl.

Other Recipes You Might Enjoy

Black Trumpet Mushroom Risotto with Kale

Vegan Tofu Scramble with Veggies

Kale and butternut squash risotto in a white bowl.

Creamy Kale Risotto with Butternut Squash

This Creamy Kale Risotto with Butternut Squash is bursting with seasonal flavors and nourishing ingredients.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Kale Risotto, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 157kcal
Author: hungrydanekitchen

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or large deep skillet or pot

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups butternut squash, chopped into small cubes
  • ½ tsp sage, dried
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or large deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté 3-4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté approx. 30 seconds. 
  • Add the Arborio Rice and white wine to the pot. Over medium simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  • Now add the cubed butternut squash, sage and 1 cup of the broth. Bring to a simmer stirring gently and allow the rice to absorb the liquid, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add remaining broth one cup at a time, stir and allow the liquid to absorb each time, about 5 minutes per cup.
  • When adding the last cup of broth, add the kale. Cook about 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and kale is wilted.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese, allowing it to melt into the risotto, adding a creamy texture.
  • Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Serve and Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 8g | Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 588mg | Potassium: 251mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5703IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 2mg

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