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Angela Corrado


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Make This with PA Produce: Winter Squash Risotto

East End Food Co-op Takes Comfort Food to a Whole New Level

Photo by East End Food Co-op

Harrisburg, PAEast End Food Co-op is a full service food market located in Pittsburgh, PA. It opened in 1985 as the area’s only cooperatively-owned grocery store and has since flourished into a thriving community pillar that specializes in local and environmentally responsible grocery staples, as well as unique artisan products, an expansive bulk foods department, and exceptional customer service.

With winter on our heels and a very apparent fall nip already present in the air, East End’s customers, like many other proud consumers of PA produce, are gravitating toward hearty, nourishing vegetables and comfort dishes. While traditional risotto is steeped in a European culture from overseas, it’s easy and really quite delicious to give it a homegrown twist by adding whatever’s in season. This time of year, that’s winter squash!

East End selected butternut squash as the local vegetable in this timeless recipe, but you could also use kuri, delicata, acorn, or even sweet potatoes in a pinch. All of these vegetables can be found locally in Pennsylvania this time of year and store well, so it never hurts to stock up. They are rich in antioxidants, potassium, and flavor, so you can feel good about checking off both boxes – healthy and delicious. Time to find your local produce and enjoy.

Winter Squash Risotto


  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or veg. broth
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots sliced thinly
  • 3 cups butternut hubbard, red kuri or kabocha squash (peeled, and chopped in ½ inch pieces)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 ⁄8 tsp. crumbled saffron threads (optional)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan


  1. Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in squash and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper and saffron (if using); cook for 30 seconds. Add rice; stir until translucent, about 1 minute. Add wine (or vermouth) and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in ½ cup of the hot broth; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy, 30 to 40 minutes total.
  4. You may have some broth left. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.

The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program is a statewide marketing order established by a grower referendum, governed by a grower board and funded by grower assessments. The Program’s sole purpose is to serve the vegetable growers of Pennsylvania by promoting Pennsylvania-grown vegetables and funding practical vegetable production research. Consider liking PA Veggies on Facebook (PAVeggies), following along on Instagram (@PAVeggies), subscribing to our YouTube channel, and using #PAVeggies to find and share your homegrown PA happiness experiences.

EDITORS: If you have any questions, please contact Angela ℅ PA Veggies at 484.955.3817 or [email protected].

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