I adore risotto, but I rarely make it for company since it requires a good deal of cooking at the last minute. Recently, though, I've discovered that baking risotto in a casserole is stress free. Arborio rice is spread into a baking dish, covered with hot simmering broth and melted butter and placed in a hot oven, where the liquids are absorbed by the grains. Cooked this way, like a pilaf, the rice is tender, rather than al dente and creamy, as in classic risotto. The addition of roasted butternut squash, grated Parmigiano and fresh sage make this baked version even better.

Serves 6 as a side dish, or 4 as a main course


  • 3 cups peeled, diced butternut squash (3/4-inch dice size)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 3 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips about 1/4-inch wide and 3 inches long
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage, plus 3 or 4 sprigs for garnish


    Arrange racks in the center and lower third of the oven, and preheat to 375°. Generously butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish and have 2 rimmed baking sheets ready.

    Spread the squash on one of the baking sheets, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper.

    Spread the rice in the prepared baking dish and place the dish on the other baking sheet. Heat the chicken broth and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the broth comes to a boil. Carefully pour the hot broth over the rice. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil.

    Place the baking sheet with the rice on the middle oven rack and the one with the squash on the lower rack. Roast the squash, stirring every 10 minutes, until it is soft when pierced with a sharp knife and golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes. At the same time, cook the rice until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 40 minutes.

    While the rice and squash are in the oven, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, and sauté the prosciutto, stirring often, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

    When done, remove the squash and the risotto from the oven. Carefully remove the foil from the baking dish and stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the chopped sage. Gently stir in the roasted butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. (The risotto can be prepared 30 minutes ahead. Keep loosely covered with foil, at room temperature.)

    Garnish the center of the risotto with the sage sprigs and sprinkle with the sautéed prosciutto. Serve the risotto with a small bowl of the remaining Parmesan cheese for sprinkling.

    From Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish (Chronicle) by Betty Rosbottom.

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