Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash adds a pop of color and touch of sweetness to an otherwise savory rice dish in our Butternut Squash Risotto. Butternut squash is a fun fall highlight -- just like its cousin, the pumpkin.


Butternut Squash Risotto


Butternut Squash adds a pop of color and touch of sweetness to an otherwise savory rice dish in our Butternut Squash Risotto. Butternut squash is a fun fall highlight -- just like its cousin, the pumpkin.

Background Information

  • Many varieties of squash are seasonal in the fall – acorn squash, delicatta squash, pumpkin, etc. Butternut squash is no exception. This vegetable is associated with pumpkin as it tastes like it and is even known as Butternut Pumpkin in New Zealand and Australia. The interior is orange and the outer cover looks rough yellow, which darkens as it grows. It tastes sweet and one of its most renowned types is the Waltham Butternut.
  • Folding is a cooking method of gently mixing ingredients – usually delicate or whipped ingredients that cannot withstand stirring or beating. To fold, use a rubber spatula to cut down through the mixture, move across the bottom of the bowl, and come back up, folding some of the mixture from the bottom over close to the surface.

Topics / Goals / Learning Objectives

  • To identify and replicate patterns of color, shape, and size
  • To practice basic knife-skills and safety
  • To reinforce concepts of seasonality

Opening / hook

Welcome to the kitchen, kindergarteners. We have been learning about patterns in the classroom, and today we will be exploring patterns in the garden and kitchen. Our Recipe of the Month is Butternut Squash Risotto. Risotto is a rice dish traditional to the country of Italy. The rice is incredibly fluffly and creamy, but you have to follow a special technique to make it that way; you have to “Add broth and fold. Add broth and fold. Add broth and fold.” What’s the pattern that hear and see? Exactly, you “add broth and fold” and repeat.

Today, we will make a seasonal Butternut Squash Risotto with fresh herbs and squash from the garden! Butternut Squash is an ingredient we will be working with because it’s available in the garden right now. It’s a beautiful fall color – orange – and creamy and rich in flavor. As we prepare our recipe, we will also have a chance to play with our food to make patterns to share with our friends.

Procedures / Activities

Prep: Each table will be responsible for cutting butternut squash into bite-sized pieces or plucking parsley leaves.

  1. Welcome students into the kitchen, have them wash hands, and join the instructor around the stove-top.
  2. Introduce the Recipe of the Month, making connections to curriculum and seasonality. This would be an opportune time to demonstrate the pattern of adding broth to the risotto mix and incorporating it to the rice until it disappears. “Add broth and fold” and repeat.
  3. Go over proper knife skills (“bear claw”) and then have students begin working on chopping their vegetable into small pieces.
  4. After every group finishes their prep, the teacher can distribute materials evenly amongst the table clusters. The students will need bits of butternut squash, parsley, and a third item – the original lesson used hawthorneberries because they were available in the garden. Allow students to free-play and design patterns using their cutting board as a canvas.
  5. As students work on creating patterns, the teacher can plate the finished dish. As the students are being served, the teacher can encourage the students to garnish their dishes with their parsley and berries.


End with a tasting and allow students time to vote on whether they simply “liked it, loved it, or tried it.”

Extensions / Adaptations / Games

  • Students can put together a final pattern to display during a “gallery walk.” During a gallery walk, students explore the images. This strategy is a great tool when you want to have students share their work with peers and reflect on what they see. Because this strategy requires students to physically move around the room, it can be especially engaging to kinesthetic learners.
  • Students can save their butternut squash seeds and fold seed packets for the following season.

Lesson Resources

Recipe: Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe Card