Chicken and Butternut Sage Risotto

17 Sep 2023

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken. Butternut squash is a type of pumpkin which is smaller and sweeter than the large orange Jack O’Lantern types.


1 medium butternut squash
2 cloves garlic
2-3 sprigs sage
2 x 15ml spoons olive oil
1 x 5ml spoon paprika
Black pepper (optional)
1-2 sprigs thyme and/or rosemary (optional)
1 litre chicken stock OR
1 x reduced-salt chicken OR vegetable stock cube dissolved in 1 litre boiling water
1 onion
150g cooked chicken
300g risotto rice (Arborio OR Carnaroli)
1 lemon
15g Parmesan OR other hard cheese


Weighing scales
Kitchen towel
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Dessert spoon
Roasting tin
Baking parchment
Garlic press
Measuring spoons
Measuring jug
Wide, deep frying pan or another saucepan
Wooden spoon
Lemon squeezer
Pan stand
Oven gloves


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan or gas mark 4.
2. Using a sharp knife and working on a chopping board, trim about 2cm off the top and bottom of the squash. Cut the squash into two, just where it begins to balloon, then chop each section in half lengthways. Remove the seeds and peel each section. Take care – squash skin is tough. Chop the flesh into 3cm cubes. Line the roasting tin with baking parchment and put the chunks of squash in.
3. Peel, finely chop (or crush) the garlic. Wash the sage in the colander, drain and chop 4 of the sage leaves into small pieces. Mix the garlic and sage together and sprinkle into the roasting tin.
4. Measure 1 x 15ml spoon of olive oil. Pour the oil over the squash, garlic and sage and add the paprika. Use a spoon to make sure that all of the mixture is evenly coated with oil.
5. Grind some black pepper over the mixture in the roasting tin (if using), add 1–2 sprigs of thyme and/ or rosemary (if using) and roast for 1 hour in the oven. Stir the mixture after 30 minutes and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.
6. While the squash is roasting, heat the chicken stock in a saucepan on a medium heat (do not boil), then once heated, turn off the hob and set aside.
7. Peel and chop the onion and chop up 6 more sage leaves. Tear the chicken into chunks and set aside for later.
8. Heat 1 x 15ml spoon of olive oil in a wide deep frying pan or saucepan and cook the onion and half the chopped sage until soft (approx. 2–3 minutes). Add the risotto rice to the pan, keep stirring the rice and cook until it starts to stick to the pan. Lower to a medium heat, then add 2 ladles of hot stock and stir in with the rice. Add 2 more ladles and keep stirring. Continue to add ladles of stock and simmer, stirring all the time.
9. When nearly all the stock has been used (after approx. 30 minutes), add the chicken and continue to stir until all the stock has been added.

10. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice, then grate the cheese. Add the juice and cheese to the mixture and stir. Add the roasted butternut squash with the remaining chopped sage. Add black pepper to taste (if using) and serve immediately.

Skills used include:
Washing, weighing, measuring, peeling, chopping, mixing/combining, boiling/simmering and roasting.

Top Tips

  • Risotto needs to be stirred regularly as this releases the starch in the rice, which makes it taste creamy.
  • You can wash and roast the scooped-out butternut seeds and sprinkle them on the top of the risotto, or eat them as a snack.

Something to try next time

If you have already eaten all the chicken from your roast, use some chopped cooked bacon instead. Bacon and butternut squash work really well together.

Prepare now, eat later

  • Peel and chop the onions, then bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. Take out as much as you need for each recipe, then reseal the bag and put it back in the freezer.
  • If you have any risotto left over, cool within 1 hour and keep in the fridge. Eat cold within 24 hours. Do not reheat the risotto because it’s made with cooked chicken which has already been reheated once.