Sunday, November 29, 2015

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crème Fraîche and Fried Sage Leaves for a #SundaySupper Where We Use Veggies As A Main

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For those of you in the United States, I hope you had a wonderful holiday this past Thursday. As I stated in my preview, I find this week's #SundaySupper theme of Veggies As A Main refreshing because it could have easily contributed to the noise of Thanksgiving leftover ideas.

I last made a point of addressing the topic of vegetarian dishes earlier this year when I had the opportunity to work with Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg to promote their most recent book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. In it, Ms. Page makes a strong case for those that have chosen to eat a plant-based diet be it environmental, medical or ethical reasons and I highly recommend it even for meat eaters because it is helpful in dish composition.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

As I looked over my previous posts, I have found many vegetarian dishes here. Many are salads but I would estimate more are Italian primi dishes, which is the case here. I actually find it difficult to incorporate meat into pasta dishes unless we're discussing fillings. Costs aside, flavor is considered first when choosing the ingredients to use in a dish, then whether or not the dish is in season before science (i.e. yeast to make bread, deglazing with fluid, etc.). Since butternut squash is in season, I decided to use it in a risotto dish. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible listed butternut squash as pairing well with risottos, sage and nutmeg which is how I composed this dish.

Dish Details

I adapted Ree's recipe to the fried sage leaves found on epicurious.


Vegetable oil for frying
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 to 7 cups chicken stock, brought to a low simmer in a saucepan
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons nutmeg


1. Fry the sage. In a small saucepan or small skillet, add enough vegetable oil to achieve a depth of 1/2-inch and place over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the sage in batches, 3 to 4 leaves at a time for 5 seconds each, removing them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate, then season with kosher salt. Set aside to cool. This can be done a day ahead. Once cool, store the leaves in an airtight container.

2. Prepare the squash. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add in the squash cubes, then season with salt and pepper. Sweat the squash until lightly browned and tender but not falling apart. Remove the squash from the skillet to a bowl, set aside and reserve.

3. Apply the risotto method in the same skillet where the butternut squash was prepared by following the method in step two of a risotto I published previously.

4. Finish the dish. Once the rice is al dente, stir in the reserved butternut squash, crème fraîche, parmesan and nutmeg using more or less crème fraîche until the desired consistency has been achieved. Adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with the sage leaves.

Final Thoughts

With the holiday this week, I didn't get the opportunity to perfect the dish because the night I prepared it, I added too much crème fraîche. Mrs. Stuntman also thought the dish was too sweet so I'll need to play around with spices to balance out the flavors.

Meanwhile, please view these other dishes offered for this week's #SundaySupper:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


  1. Thank you for hosting #SundaySupper this week, and Happy Birthday! My husband loves risotto, so this recipe will definitely be on my radar in the coming weeks!

  2. Happy birthday to the host with the most! Like I told you on FB, I'm so glad you encouraged me to join in this week. I've missed SS so much! I'm always so impressed with your culinary skills, DB. You make incredible, elegant, fancy food but you write about it in such a way I feel like I'd be able to do it myself. This risotto is no exception. It looks delicious and I looooooove butternut squash.

  3. Oh my goodness this is perfect. I love risotto and butternut squash, and even more when they're paired together! The sage is the perfect complement. You have outdone yourself! Hope you enjoyed this...but I do hope that someone else is cooking for you on your special day ;-) Happy Birthday!!

  4. Happy Birthday, DB! Thanks for hosting. Risotto with butternut squash sounds delicious!

  5. Love me a good risotto! It's so delicious and creamy and hearty and perfect for a meatfree main!

  6. Thanks for hosting this on your birthday. Great theme and great recipe.

  7. I love butternut squash risotto , it's so comforting and tasty. Maybe pecorino rather than parmesan might help with the sweetness of the creme fraiche, as well as reducing a little? Thanks for hosting this week.

  8. I think this risotto sounds perfect!! And the fried sage leaves would totally balance that sweetness perfectly! Yummmm!!

  9. I think this risotto sounds perfect!! And the fried sage leaves would totally balance that sweetness perfectly! Yummmm!!


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