This recipe was a product of the game “what is in my pantry that I can put in a risotto for dinner.”  I had purchased some pre-cut squash and scallops at Balduccis (my favorite foodie grocery store when we lived in the DC area).  I made squash and scallop risotto several years before when we lived on Capitol Hill using local apple cider as a marinade for the scallops.  The result tasted like fall on a plate.  

In an effort to replicate those flavors, I scoured my pantry.  We usually have jarred chestnuts around in preparation for making chestnut stuffing during the holidays and I always have Connecticut maple syrup in my refrigerator since it is my go-to sweetener of choice that I pour on top of everything from sweet potatoes to chili.  (My husband often laments that I add maple syrup to everything.)  Luckily, I had some sage leftover from my attempts to make a sage brown derby.  This seemed like a fun mix of ingredients for a risotto.  

I imagine myself like Remy in my favorite Disney movie Ratatoille when he is seasoning the soup.  I was dancing around this risotto adding a little bit of nutmeg and a little bit of sage.  And since it looked like I roasted a lot of squash, why not make a puree with the local apple cider?  I didn’t write a single measurement down.  I just added, and tasted, and added, and tasted.  The end result was one of the best risottos I have ever made.  My mom and my husband agreed that this was worthy of a restaurant dinner.  I think it was the pockets of squash and apple cider puree with the hint of maple syrup, sage, and chestnut that took this risotto to another level.  

I quickly wrote down the ingredients and what I thought might be the measurements.  I have been trying to replicate this for two years now and have made it no less than six times since.  While not as perfect as the first version of this risotto, this is the closest I have gotten to the flavors of my original scallops, squash, chestnut and sage risotto.  This is a hearty meal to serve at a dinner party after a salad and alongside a glass of chardonnay or white burgundy.  

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Scallop, Squash, Chestnut, and Sage Risotto

  • Author: Christina
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


This is a hearty meal to serve at a dinner party after a salad and alongside a glass of chardonnay or white burgundy.


Units Scale

Roasted Squash

  • 2 acorn squash or kabocha squash (about 2 pounds or 4 cups diced), peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Squash Puree

  • 2 cups roasted squash
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 Tbs fresh squeeze orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shallots or onion, diced
  • 1 cup leeks, diced
  • 1 Tbs garlic, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1pound arborio rice (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 810 cups chicken broth, warm
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs fresh sage, chopped
  • 5.2-ounce bag chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Sous Vide Scallops

  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 pound scallops


  1. First roast the squash: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a cake sheet or lasagna pan with parchment paper or a silpat.  Spread the squash out on the pan and drizzle in olive oil.  Season with salt.  Roast for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted does not meet resistance.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Next make the squash puree: Combine all ingredients for the puree in a small bowl and puree with an immersion blender.  Alternatively, can combine all ingredients in a blender and puree. Spoon into a pastry bag or Ziploc bag.  Set aside.
  4. Make the risotto: In a medium sized pot, bring the chicken broth to low boil and then reduce to a simmer.  In a separate large stock pot, combine the butter and olive oil.  Melt over medium heat.  Add the shallots and leeks to the melted oil and butter and cover.  Season with salt.  Cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the maple syrup and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently so that the maple syrup doesn’t burn.
  5. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently so that the rice gets slightly toasted but not burned.  Add the white wine and stir to combine.  After the wine has been absorbed by the rice, start adding the warm chicken broth in 1 cup increments.  After each additional of broth, stir the rice and then let it sit undisturbed for a few minutes to absorb the liquid.  After the rice has absorbed the broth, repeat the process of adding more broth.  This process is a bit time consuming and will take 20- 30 minutes.  Depending on the type of rice used, you may need more, or less, chicken broth.
  6. Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg, sage, chestnuts, and heavy cream.  Season with pepper, to taste.  Gently fold in any remaining roasted squash (that was not used in the squash puree).  Finish with parmesan cheese and dollops of squash puree.
  7. Finally make the scallops: Combine all ingredients, except scallops, in a bowl and mix to combine.  Pour marinade over the scallops.  Place in a plastic sous vide bag and vacuum seal. Sous vide at 140 F for 25 minutes.  Remove scallops from marinade.  In a sauce pan over high heat, quickly sear the scallops on both sides (just to add some color).  Place 2-3 scallops on top per serving of risotto.


You can substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth, but I prefer the flavor of chicken broth in this risotto.

If you don’t have sous vide capabilities, no worries.  Just marinade the scallops and pan sear them for a few minutes on each side.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italianish

Keywords: Risotto, Italianish, Dinner, Scallops, Squash

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