Umami Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Hot Honey Pepitas

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  • Total Time: 1 hrs
  • Makes: 4-6 servings

There is no denying that risotto is a labor of love. These quick candied pepitas provide a nice crunch and a pop of unexpected sweet heat. The umami roasted squash gets nice and caramelized in the oven before you fold it into the creamy rosemary parmesan risotto. Whether you pair this dish with some salmon, or make it a vegetarian meal with a crisp green salad, this will sure to be one of your go-to recipes. (Thank you to our friend Stacey Swanson for creating this wonderful recipe.)


  • Candied Pepitas:

    1/2 cup of pepitas

    1 teaspoon of Chosen Foods avocado oil

    1 tablespoon of Mike’s Hot Honey

    Frontier Co-op applewood smoked salt for sprinkling

    Frontier Co-op powdered maple syrup powder for sprinkling


    Umami Roasted Squash:

    2 lb butternut squash peeled, seeded and diced into about 1-inch pieces

    2 tablespoons of Chosen Foods avocado oil

    2 teaspoons of Simply Organic Sweet & Smoky Umami Blend

    2 teaspoons of Simply Organic Roasted Garlic & Herb Umami Blend

    Frontier Co-op Salt & Pepper



    1 1/2 cups of white arborio rice

    1/2 cup of diced shallot or sweet onion

    1 1/2 teaspoons of Simply Organic rosemary

    6 tablespoons of butter

    6 cups of chicken stock (6 1/2 if you choose not to use 1/2 cup of white wine)

    1/2 cup of white wine (you can substitute stock here)

    1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese (freshly grated if you can)


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.


    Candied Pepitas:

    1.  Place a piece of parchment onto a cookie sheet or tray.

    2.  Place pepitas, oil & hot honey in a small saute pan and set to low.  Nuts burn quickly and so you don’t want to walk away.  Let it come to a faint sizzle and just keep stirring the candied nut mixture until the pepitas have a little brown color on them.  We don’t want to turn them completely brown.  We just want to heat up the honey mixture, put some color on the nuts and allow them to release some of their oils.  This will take less than 5 minutes.

    3.  Quickly pour the nuts onto the parchment paper and spread them into one close layer.

    4.  Sprinkle a little pinch of applewood smoked sea salt and a pinch of the powdered maple sugar over the warm nuts.

    5.  Set them to the side to allow the honey to harden.


    Umami Roasted Squash:

    1. In a mixing bowl toss the diced butternut squash, the oil, the sweet & smoky umami, the roasted garlic & herb umami and salt & pepper to taste.
    2. Place the squash on the other baking sheet and pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes or so while you start to prepare the risotto.
    3. When the timer for the squash goes off, you can start the broiler if you want to put a little more color on your squash (this is optional).  If you decide to broil the squash, do not walk away from the oven, it takes about 2 minutes.
    4. Once you are happy with the doneness of the squash, remove it from the oven and set it aside.


    Brown Butter Parmesan Rosemary Risotto:

    1. Put the chicken stock in a saucepan and place over low heat so you can add hot stock into the rice.
    2. In a dutch oven or a heavy pot, melt the butter until it starts to foam a tiny bit and you can start to see some brown flecks forming.
    3. Toss the shallot and the rosemary in the butter and continue to cook letting that butter continue to brown and allowing the shallot to get translucent.  Watch it carefully as we don’t want the butter to burn, but we want to get some nice brown flecks where all that nutty goodness comes from.
    4. Add in the arborio rice and continue to cook the rice, shallot, butter, & rosemary together for another 3-5 minutes allowing the rice to get some caramelization.
    5. If you are choosing to use wine, add that in and cook for about 2 minutes.
    6. If you choose to only use stock, then add 2 ladles of stock to the risotto, along with 1 teaspoon of salt & some pepper to taste.
    7. Continue to stir & simmer until stock is absorbed, 5-10 minutes
    8. Continue to add the stock, 1-2 ladles at a time, continuing to stir every few minutes
    9. You will continue this repetitive process until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, roughly 30 minutes.
    10. Turn off the heat and fold in 1 cup of parmesan and the umami roasted squash.
    11. Break up the cooled candied pepitas and stir 1/2 into the risotto.
    12. Top the risotto with extra parmesan and sprinkle with the rest of the pepitas.

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