In The Bender Kitchen: Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo cooking up cozy winter butternut squash risotto

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — You can smell the aroma from the Bender Kitchen. Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo cooking up a cozy winter dish.

Butternut Squash Risotto                                                                    


1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 large red onion, peeled and cut into wedges

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

Extra-virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

½ stick of unsalted butter, divided

1 small yellow onion or shallot minced

1 tbs. of fresh sage, minced

1 and ½ cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice

1/2 cup dry white wine, optional

Approximately 8 cups of low sodium vegetable stock, heated (less liquid may be used)

½ – 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt & pepper to taste



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a roasting pan add butternut squash and onions. Drizzle generously with olive oil, salt and pepper roast for 50 minutes until tender.
  3. In a separate roasting pan add cherry tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tomatoes softened and release some juices, approximately 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a deep sauté pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add in onions and cook until translucent.  Meanwhile warm up stock or broth.
  5. To the onions, add in rice and toast for a few minutes.
  6. Deglaze with wine (if using) and cook until it’s almost evaporated. Slowly begin to ladle in warm broth/stock one ladle at a time.  Continue to ladle in liquid as needed making sure to stir (with a wooden spoon) in one direction.
  7. Continue to cook until rice is tender but al dente. Approximately 20 minutes.
  8. When rice is close to being done, add in butternut squash, onions, tomatoes and any juices released. Gently combine.
  9. Remove from heat and add in cheese and stir. Finish the risotto with remaining butter.  Serve immediately.




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