Risotto with Butternut Squash, Maple Bacon & Fresh Thyme

Risotto with Butternut Squash

Risotto really isn’t very complicated, however it does take a bit of time to prepare, because it has to be stirred almost constantly. Prepare it on a weekend when you have more time, and flavour it with an infinite number of ingredients. I’ve used: sausage, chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, pumpkin, roasted vegetables and beets. I love this combination of the salty bacon with the sweet tender squash, it’s perfect for this time of year.

Don’t add the cubed butternut squash too late or your rice will be cooked but your squash will be raw. If you’re a bit nervous, roast your squash ahead of time and fold it in with the bacon at the end.

Dana Shortt

Risotto with Butternut Squash, Maple Bacon & Fresh Thyme

Dana Shortt
Servings 4


  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • ½ cup Shallots finely diced
  • ¼ cup Cooking onions diced
  • 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • ½ – ¾ cup Dry white wine
  • 6 cups Low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups Butternut squash peeled and cut in ½” cubes
  • ½ package Maple bacon
  • 2 tbsp Fresh thyme or sage
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp Butter optional
  • To taste Salt & pepper


  • Pan fry bacon in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Cook until crispy. Remove the bacon from its drippings and chop into 1” pieces and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp of olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and shallots. Sauté until mixture begins to soften, about 2 mins. Add rice and stir until it’s translucent at edges but still opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer until the wine is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 mins.
  • Add 1 cup of warm broth. Simmer until the broth is almost absorbed, stirring often, about 2-3 mins. Add 2 cups more broth, 1 cup at a time. Allow each cup to be absorbed before adding the next and stir frequently, about 6-8 mins.
  • Mix in the cubed butternut squash and thyme and 1 cup of broth. Simmer until broth is just absorbed, stirring often, about 5-7 mins. Add 2 cups more broth, 1 cup at a time. Allow each addition to be absorbed before adding the next and stir frequently.
  • Add ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese, chopped maple bacon and 4 tbsp of butter (omit the butter if desired). Simmer until the butter melts and risotto is creamy, stirring often and adding more broth by 1/3 cupfuls if the risotto is dry or if it isn’t quite cooked. Test to make sure that the squash is fork-tender and that the rice is cooked to your liking. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Portion risotto into bowls or onto plates. Top with additional ¼ cup parmesan cheese.
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