Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!

Disclosure: This Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage post is sponsored by al fresco, but the recipe and opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Spiced!

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Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!You guys know I love traditions.  Be it drinking from my lucky coffee mug on college football gamedays or leaving cookies out for Santa, I’ve always been a fan of traditions.  However, there’s one tradition I dislike: raking leaves.  Growing up, we had a family tradition that involved raking leaves every Thanksgiving afternoon.  We’d enjoy the Thanksgiving meal together…and then we’d go out and rake leaves.  Other families might have been relaxing on the couch watching football.  Not us.  We were raking leaves.

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!As much as I disliked that tradition, I totally understand it.  We have a number of large oak and maple trees in our yard, and they produce a lot of leaves.  Like piles and piles and piles of leaves.  We’re more or less done with leaf season here in upstate New York, but Robbie was a trooper and helped me out each week.  He had a mini rake, and he’d rake up a little pile of leaves.  It was adorable!  It wasn’t very effective, but it was adorable.  Now I just need to convince him to keep raking those leaves with me as he gets older!

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!As we turn our attention to December, there will be plenty of delicious desserts and appetizers on the menu.  However, it’s important to keep some tasty savory meals on hand, too…and this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage is definitely a recipe to bookmark.  It’s delicious!

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!I know risotto gets a bad rap as folks think it’s really difficult to make.  Risotto is not difficult to make!  Let me repeat myself: risotto is not difficult to make!  However, risotto does require a bit of attention during the cooking process.  Stir.  Stir.  Stir.  That’s it.  If you can stir, then you can make risotto.  I’m a big fan of squash, and this butternut squash risotto is a wintertime favorite around our house!

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

I decided to top this butternut squash risotto with sliced chicken sausage.  We’re huge fans of al fresco chicken sausage, and we’ve always got a couple packs of their chicken sausage in our fridge or freezer.  In the summer, we like to just grill ’em up along with some veggies for a nice and easy dinner.  But seeing as how it’s quite chilly outside right now, I decided to stay indoors.  Instead, I just sliced up that chicken sausage and seared it in a grill pan.  Delicious!

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!For this butternut squash risotto, I chose al fresco’s Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage.  This sausage is made with lean, skinless chicken, and it comes fully cooked.  (I like to sear it in a grill pan for extra flavor.)  The Sweet Apple flavor includes dried apples, and the sausage is sweetened a bit with Vermont maple syrup.  It really is quite tasty, and it pairs well with the flavors of the butternut squash in the risotto.  Talk about a winter comfort food meal right there!

al fresco’s chicken sausage has 70% less fat and 30% less sodium than pork sausage.  I’m all about healthy meals at this time of the year.  After all, there will be plenty of sweets in our house during the holidays, so it’s good to balance out those desserts with healthy, tasty dinners.  I used al fresco’s Sweet Apple flavor for this recipe, but it’s worth checking out the other flavors of al fresco’s chicken sausage.  The Smoked Andouille and Spicy Jalapeno flavors are two of our other favorites!

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!Before we wrap up this post, I’d like to point out that this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage can be made on a weeknight.  We do it!  The key here is multitasking.  The butternut squash gets cut into small 1/2″ cubes, so that helps it cook faster.  (Butternut squash is notorious for how long it can take to cook!)  And while the squash is cooking, you can be stirring that risotto and searing the chicken sausage.  Then it all comes together to create a delicious and tasty dinner.  Enjoy, friends!

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!Did you make this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).

Looking for more tasty winter comfort food meals?  Check out these other favorites:

Tuscan White Beans
Stuffed Italian Bread
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup
Cacio e Pepe
Chicken Riggies

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

Shake off the cold weather with a batch of this Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 621kcal



  • Peel butternut squash and slice into ½” cubes.
  • Using a large skillet, add squash, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper; toss until well combined. Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 18-20 minutes, or until squash is tender but not mushy. Remove squash from skillet and place in medium bowl; set aside.
  • Meanwhile, using a medium saucepan, add chicken stock and water; bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Using a large skillet, add onion, garlic and remaining ½ Tbsp of olive oil; saute over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add rice to skillet with onions and garlic; cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and add wine and fresh sage. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until wine is fully absorbed.
  • Add heated chicken stock ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly. (Note: Allow stock to fully absorb before adding next ½ cup. This process will take ~20 minutes.)
  • Meanwhile, place the sausages in a separate skillet or grill pan. Cook for 7-9 minutes, or until sausages are browned on both sides. Remove sausages from skillet and set aside.
  • Once risotta is creamy and tender, add butter and cubed squash. Stir and continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes, or until butter has completely melted.
  • Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.
  • Divide risotto onto plates and top with browned al fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and sage; serve immediately.

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  1. Risotto is one of my favourite things to make (and eat). Love how you’ve added some heft here with the risotto and sausage. Those chicken sausage sound delicious, by the way. Love how they’re healthier than a standard sausage (which totally means I can eat more, right 😉 ? – I’ll just pretend you nodded ‘yes’). With all the holiday treats around, this savoury goodness is defintiely a welcomed addition to the menu! So awesome that you make it during the week too 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, David 🙂

    1. I’m all about adding heft to risotto! It’s delicious and creamy as it is, but risotto goes to a whole new level with a bit of texture in there. We’re all about the holiday treats here, but you can’t really just eat cookies for dinner (or can you? Hah!). Risotto is one of our favorite winter meals, and the addition of butternut squash and chicken sausage was quite nice here. Thanks so much, my friend. I hope you had a great weekend!

    1. Hah! I’m pretty sure that leaf raking was a chore that my parents tried to convince us was a tradition. Ugh. But risotto with chicken sausage and butternut squash? Now that’s worthy of being a winter tradition! 🙂 Thanks, Kathy!

  2. UGH I love risotto so much and now I’m craving this one. But I’m also feeling lazy after reading about raking leaves so do you mind if I come over for dinner tonight? I’ll bring a big rake for Robbie if you want–he can grow into it and be of more help next year :). Have a great weekend, David!

    1. Hah! I totally get that lazy feeling, Kelsie. Come on over! We’ll whip up a batch of risotto…but you might have to get out there and show Robbie how to use that rake! Actually, check that. Just bring him a snow shovel instead. 🙂 Hope you had a great weekend, my friend!

  3. Love the sweet and savory combination of this dish, David! Definitely a must try!

    I bet Robbie was adorable with his little rake! Our bane is pine needles!! They’re endless… 😉

    1. This risotto was so tasty, Marissa! We love making risotto on winter nights, and this combination of flavors was perfect for this time of the year! 🙂 Also, pine needles. They’re the worst to rake! How is it that pine needles can be so darned heavy!?

  4. Hi David. This sounds like a perfect dish for the cool (cold) weather we’ve been having! Butternut squash is one of my favorites…okay all squash are! The chicken sausage sounds really good and pairs perfectly here. Hopefully I’ll be up to chopping and multitasking by the first of the year 🙂

    1. Hey Dorothy! We are all about risotto as soon as the weather turns cold. Sure, it’s a dish that requires a little more attention while you’re cooking, but there’s nothing difficult there at all! And this chicken sausage is a great addition with the texture and flavor. I’m sending good thoughts and vibes your way that you’ll be back up and at ’em soon! 🙂

    1. Hey Manali! Thank you so much for the kind words. We do love risotto …especially on chilly days! How about this? I’ll make a huge pot, and you can dive right in! Deal? 🙂 Hope you had a great weekend, my friend!

  5. Beautiful! And I can even get that sausage brand! Your young, and less lazy. I like to use purées to add squash to risotto. But I really like seeing the dice.

    1. Haha! You make an excellent point about pureeing the butternut squash. We’ve totally done that in the past, but I just opted for chopping and roasting this time, though. Although I have to admit that I almost broke down and bought the pre-chopped squash at the store. Haha! Thanks so much, my friend!

  6. Good luck keeping Robbie interested in raking leaves. From what you say it didn’t work for you. We had the same tradition at our Thanksgiving day growing up. We always had dinner at my grandmas’ and all the kids had to pitch in and rake the yard before we could eat.
    We love butternut squash risotto and I bet it’s really good with that sweet apple sausage.

    1. Hah! Yeah, I’m guessing Robbie’s interest in raking leaves will be short-lived. In fact, it will probably last about as long as his interest in shoveling snow. 🙂 So you totally had the same Thanksgiving “tradition” as us!

      Also, these sweet apple sausages combined with the butternut squash are really quite tasty. Thanks so much, Ron!

  7. I only just got started on posting some Risotto recipes this year and I forgot just how much I love them. But wow this butternut squash risotto with sweet apple chicken sausage takes that up quite a few notches! Poor Robbie out raking leaves when he could be inside eating all those delicious foods you create. Still, that’s good practice for him clearing the snows for you when they come!! 🙂

    1. I agree, Neil! We often forget how much we love risotto…until we make a batch. And now all I can think about for dinner is more risotto. It’s so tasty! And the chicken sausages add such a boost of both flavor and texture here.

      And, yes, Robbie is out there “practicing” for the snow shoveling! Want to take bets how much he ends up helping with the snow this season? Haha!

  8. From day one, I have had the spookiest relationship with your blog, as I’ve mentioned before. Today offers more proof. After living my life to this point without ever having heard of butternut squash risotto, I had it at a friend’s house this week, and then here is a recipe for it in your blog! My friend used prosciutto, but I think I’d like sausage just as much if not better.

    1. Well, Jeff, I think the real cause behind our spooky relationship is the fact that I actually live next door to you and spy on your conversations with my super-secret spy equipment. 🙂

      In other news, you need to rush (yes, rush) out and get the ingredients to make butternut squash risotto! The flavor is out of this world good, and the chicken sausage here adds a nice boost of both flavor and texture. Cheers, my friend…or should I say, my neighbor?

  9. Dang – I never thought of raking leaves as a tradition – your parents are some smart cookies to feed y’all and then put y’all to work! And dude, good job getting Robbie in on the action! Here’s hoping he continues to enjoy raking leaves – when Lil S was young, I tried to get her to rake leaves and she would agree to do it for $$ and every year the $$ amount went up! GAH!
    Anyhoot – we love risotto – and I so needto try your butternut squash version – especially love the serving idea of the chicken sausage on top – Alfresco is one of our go-to brands too!

    1. Hah! So I’m going to apologize in advance to Lil S as I suspect she’ll have a new Thanksgiving ‘tradition’ next year that involves a rake and leaves. Haha! And as far as the risotto, it’s one of my favorite winter meals! It’s not that difficult, but it does take a bit of attention…but it’s also so worth it! Adding in the chicken sausage is awesome from both the flavor and texture perspective. So good! 🙂 Thanks, Shashi!

  10. I love butternut squash risotto…make that: I love all risotto! Love the combination with the apple chicken sausage…will have to give that a try. Definitely not a fan of raking leaves…you should see our backyard…not sure if there is any lawn left under there. 😉

    1. I love all risotto, too, Sherri! It’s so creamy and delicious. And then adding the chicken sausage on top is great for both texture and a boost of flavor. Also, leaves. Ugh. We’re moving on from leaf season now, though…it’s time to trade the rakes for snow shovels. Double ugh!

  11. I love risotto and these flavors are all so delicious together. And my husband loves chicken apple sausages and we always have some on hand, so I’ll definitely check out this brand.
    As for the raking . . . get it while you can from your little guy! Both my boys (now 12 & 14) used to love all sorts of cleaning, from raking to mopping, they were so into it. And now I’m lucky if they don’t trip over their own shoes. 😀

    1. Yes! Definitely look for al fresco chicken sausages next time you’re in the store. They make a bunch of awesome flavors, too. In the summer, we just grill ’em up. In the winter, we do stuff like this risotto. Yum! As far as raking, my plan is to keep Robbie going on that one for as long as possible! (Although, to be fair, I tripped over his shoes this morning, too. Haha.) Thanks, Valentina!

    1. You should totally try making risotto, Dawn! It’s not hard, but it does require attention. Basically, if you can stir rice in a pot (and add chicken stock gradually), then you can make risotto! 🙂

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