Butternut Squash, Ham, Sage Risotto; sick (a little) dogs

Risotto season.

Yes, I know, one can eat risotto year-round but we don’t chez nous….. We only eat it during the cooler months.

We only use the barbecue in the warmer months although I have known Minnesotans to be heroically tending the grill outdoors in the snow in December.

We’re much more sensible.

We’re also very happy when risotto season returns.

We start with a traditional favorite.

Please note that my risottos tend to be a bit heavier on the condimenti than a true Italian risotto. We eat then as a main course rather than a first course.

Butternut Squash, Ham, Sage Risotto

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2/3 cup (4.2oz, 125gr) Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) dry, white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups (18oz, 540ml) cups chicken stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded butternut squash
  • 1 tomato, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese – freshly grated  (about 2oz, 60gr)
  • Condimenti
  • 7oz (210gr) baked ham or smoked turkey
  • 12 – 15 fresh sage leaves,  substitute 1 tbs dried
  • 1 tsp olive oil



  • Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.
  • In medium saucepan heat butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1/2 onion and tomato, sauté 5 minutes.
  • Add squash and sauté 5 minutes longer.
  • Add rice and sauté stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center.
  • Add white wine and stir.
  • Start condimenti.
  • When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock, stir.
  • When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring.
  • Before the last 1/3 cup taste a few kernels of rice.  They should be just ‘al dente’ – slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked.
  • If more stock is needed add it 2 tbs at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed.  At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff – there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold its shape on a plate.
  • Add the Parmesan and the condimenti, stir well, pour into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately.
  • It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be very stiff.
  • Condimenti:
  • Cut the ham into bite-size pieces.
  • Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet.  Add 1/2 onion, ham and sage and sauté until ham is lightly browned.
  • Turn heat to very low and keep warm until needed.

Print Recipe

My dogs have not been feeling 100% lately and it’s taking it’s toll.

On me.

It started with Bonnie.

She started urinating often. We’d be out for a walk and she’d squat 3 or 4 times. This happened once before and sorted itself out in a day or two, so I decided to let it be.

Being a good girl, she let me know when she needed to go out in the middle of the night. She stood at the bottom of the stairs and barked. We sleep upstairs, they sleep downstairs.

It worked (of course) and I got up, went downstairs and let her out….. Every 90 minutes, all night long.

At one point mon mari asked why I was doing it.

I didn’t bother with an explanation……

The next night I restricted water and took her out very late. That resolved the issue and by the third day all was back to normal.

With Bonnie.

Guapa was blessed with diarrhea.

When Bonnie needs to go out I am notified with a few soft ‘woofs’.

When Guapa needs to go out it’s with one, big ‘woof’ that is surely heard in Paris.

This time I was only called every 2 hours.

Again mon mari asked why I was doing it.

I explained…. loudly….. with suggestions…..

By the next day all was back to normal.

Or so I thought….

I never really thought about it, until Friday night (stuff always happens on Friday night when nothing will be open for 2 days), but dogs are easily trained to do all of their normal bathroom duties outside.

I’m not sure how I would go about training a dog to go outside to vomit.

Needless to say, it was not a pleasant Friday night.

I always heard her…. too late, of course.

By the next day everything was back to normal, once again.

We’re hoping it stays that way.

Last update on November 23, 2016

6 thoughts on “Butternut Squash, Ham, Sage Risotto; sick (a little) dogs”

  1. I always get hungry at your photographs. Two of our girls are on Proin for incontinence. Per vet, spaying can cause hormonal changes that lead to that condition. Could incontinence have started with Bonnie?

    • Dan, I hope not…. Our German Shepherd had the problem and the pills didn’t work. Only at night and she always stayed put on her bed so I could put a paper diaper on the bed to keep her and the bed dry. Wouldn’t work with these 2 – they’re all over the place lol

  2. Lovely risotto dish Katie. We too eat risotto dishes in the colder months – and very much look forward to them. Then by late spring we can’t wait for BBQ season.

  3. There is no more effective motivator to jump out of bed than a pet retching. And they always finish an instant before I can get the newspaper under their chins. I’m glad they are better – my dogs’ urinary tract infections (frequent squatting) usually required a course of antibiotics.

    • Isn’t that the truth – and no, never in time…. If it happens again I’ll take her to the vet but it seems to clear itself up quickly and then she’s fine for months.

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