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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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:
Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage
- 1 2-lb butternut squash
- 2½ Tbsp olive oil divided
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- ½ medium yellow onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 Tbsp fresh sage minced (plus more for garnishing)
- ½ cup dry white wine can substitute ½ cup of chicken stock
- 1 12-oz. package al fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, sliced
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnishing
- 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.