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When the weather gets colder, all you want is a hearty and filling dish that will warm you up. May we propose a butternut squash risotto: The squash tastes like fall and turns the rice a beautiful light orange color and the risotto is creamy and delicious. Plus, this recipe all comes together in one pot. 

In this series, reporter Felicia LaLomia takes you through how to cook with booze. And, of course, she will be trying lots of it along the way.

It’s typical for a risotto to use a dry white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan, but to fall-ify it just a little bit more, we are using a dry cider, quite possibly the fall-est drink of them all. A favorite on the North Fork is Woodside Orchards’ cider (plus it helps that you can snag an apple cider donut or two while picking some up).


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, chopped and roasted at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice
  • ½ dry cider
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • Torn bacon, optional


  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. In a separate saucepan, warm the broth over a low heat. Do not bring it to a boil.
  2. Add the shallots to the butter and stir. Cook for seven to eight minutes, until the shallots become translucent.
  3. Add the rice to the shallot mixture. Stir to coat each rice granule and allow it to toast. After a minute or two, add the cider to deglaze. Cook for two minutes until the alcohol smell has dissipated.
  4. Ladle in two cups of broth and stir. Continue to stir every minute or two until the broth is absorbed by the rice and looks dry. Add another cup and stir. Continue this process until the rice is cooked al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the roasted butternut squash. The heat should defrost it (if frozen) and the pieces should ‘melt’ into the risotto.
  5. Remove risotto from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Serve with bacon and more cheese, optionally. Enjoy!