Bluestem's Risotto with Butternut Squash and Allspice Recipe

Bluestem's Risotto with Butternut Squash and Allspice Recipe

The following recipe is from the February 15 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!

[Photograph: Bonjwing Lee]

They might not always be the most practical or easy to cook from, but restaurant cookbooks inevitably teach us a few new, cheffy techniques. And while Bluestem is a restaurant cookbook, it's one that has the added benefit of being both accessible as well as innovative.

Take this Risotto with Butternut Squash and Allspice for example. The recipe has two components that are new to most home cooks: stirring in cubes of chilled butter just before serving for added creaminess and finishing the dish with freshly grated allspice to give it a burst of warmth and a hint of spice. They're simple touches but ones that go a long way, making homemade taste just a bit closer to restaurant-calibre cooking.

Adapted from Bluestem by Colby Garrelts and Megan Garrelts. Copyright © 2011. Published by Andrews McMeel. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:serves 8 as a first course, 4 as a main course 


  • 8 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 2 shallots, finely diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 cups butternut squash in1/2-inch cubes 
  • 2 cups Carnaroli rice
  • 3/4 cup white wine 
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish 
  • Freshly grated allspice 


  1. 1.

    Heat the chicken stock in a stockpot over low heat. Cover and keep warm. 

  2. 2.

    Heat the softened butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and butternut squash and stir until softened, about 5 minutes (you don’t want to develop any color). Using a wooden spoon, stir in the rice, coating it with the butter and seasonings. 

  3. 3.

    Continue to stir and toast the rice for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it evaporates.

  4. 4.

    Stirring the rice continuously, add the warm stock, 1 
cup at a time, making sure that the liquid is completely absorbed by the rice before adding the next cup. The rice will start to release its starch and thicken into a creamy porridge, about 30 minutes. Depending on the texture of risotto you like, the grains of rice should be tender to firm, but not gritty. Season the risotto with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let sit for a couple of minutes. 

  5. 5.

    Beat the cold butter and Parmesan into the risotto. Serve immediately. Grate a bit of allspice over the risotto with a nut grater or Microplane zester and any additional Parmesan over the risotto at the table if you like.