Creamy Squash Risotto With Toasted Pepitas

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Silky miso and a paprika-packed squash purée makes this risotto hearty and satisfying, not to mention vegan. Double or triple the squash purée since it will keep for up to four days in the fridge. You can use it in other meals throughout the week, like stirring it into soups, serving it as an alternative to mashed potatoes, or turning it into a pasta sauce.

Yield
4–6 servings
Active Time
1 hour
Total Time
2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  1. For the Squash Purée:
    • 2 large butternut squash (about 4 1/2 lb. total)
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp. white miso
    • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  2. For the Risotto:
    • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 2 1/2 tsp. (or more) kosher salt, divided
    • 2 cups arborio rice
    • 1 cup dry white wine or hard or sweet cider
    • 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
    • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dill or parsley (from about 1/2 bunch)
    • Orange wedges (for serving)

Preparation

  1. Make the Squash Purée:
    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place squash (cut side down) on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until it gives easily when pressed, 30–45 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
    2. Scoop flesh from squash and transfer to a food processor. Add oil, miso, paprika, and salt and purée, scraping down sides as needed, until very smooth.
    3. Do Ahead: Squash purée can be made 4 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill.
  2. Make the Risotto:
    1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a medium pot.
    2. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large deep-sided skillet or braising dish over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent but not browned, 5–7 minutes. Season with 2 tsp. salt, add rice, and stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is translucent around the edges, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until evaporated, 1–2 minutes.
    3. Add 1/2 cup (about a ladleful) boiling water to rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until water is absorbed, about 1–2 minutes. Continue adding water 1/2 cup at a time and stirring constantly until rice is al dente and all water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in 2 cups squash purée and continue to cook, stirring, until heated through, 3–5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
    4. Meanwhile, cook pumpkin seeds, paprika, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/3 cup oil and 1/2 tsp. salt in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until seeds are puffed and starting to brown and oil is fragrant, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest (zest will sizzle).
    5. Transfer risotto to a platter. Pour pepitas and oil over, then top with dill. Serve with orange wedges alongside for squeezing over.
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