Caramelized Onion, Roasted Butternut Squash, Spinach, Gouda & Chardonnay Risotto

Nothing like a glass of wine to ease one of a week full of stress. I like to drink wine, but I also like to cook with it, and if you are Drunk Kitchen then you like to drink while cooking – also fun, just take the precautionary safety measures when doing the latter. Instead of doing a Hannah Hart style of drunk kitchen I am just going to start a cooking with alcohol mini series with this being the first post. It will constitute recipes with alcohol (probably wine for dinners, hard liquors for baked goods, well wine works for that too) and drinking on the side – of course in moderation…

My stomach does somersaults when it has a good risotto. I mean what’s not to love about it – it’s decadent and you know what sometimes, more often than not, you just have to spoil yourself. This is top notch like ***** risotto and boy I am sure glad I have leftovers of it.

I was just thinking of making butternut risotto but once I got to the kitchen a different idea developed and I ended up with this awesome-ness.

Since you puree the butternut it gets a really nice and creamy texture – you wouldn’t even need to add the cheeses (vegan option), but I wanted the extra flavor dimension of the gouda.


2 tsp. olive oil

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 clove/1 tsp. minced garlic

1 cup risotto

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup Chardonnay

3/4 cup roasted butternut squash

handful of spinach

1/4 cup gouda

1/8 cup parmesan


Preheat oven to 400. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel and cut butternut squash into thick slices (make sure to remove seeds and pulp where needed). Lay squash slices on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in large pan. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until golden/caramelized.

Add the risotto and toss for 1 minute, then pour in 1/2 cup of the broth. Make sure you are cooking on low-medium heat

Stir (always in the same direction) and wait until the broth is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup Chardonnay.

In a blender, blend 1/4 cup chardonnay, 1/4 cup broth and the butternut squash to make a puree.

Add the butternut squash puree to the risotto mixture. Stir in and add more broth if needed.

Continue to add broth and stir risotto until all the broth is gone. About 20 minutes – taste test your risotto to make sure it is sort to your liking. Once the risotto is cooked, add the spinach and stir in.

Once the spinach is cooked down, add the cheese and stir in until melted.

Remove from heat and cover with a clean towel for 3-5 minutes.

Plate and serve warm with more wine on the side…and the bottle on reserve





To Butternut Squash Risotto

While studying abroad in Italy I learned how to make risotto – and not just any old risotto but coveted risotto. My flatmates as well as the girls staying in the flat next to us loved my risotto. My fellow study abroad-er Jessica would even come over with all the ingredients and then just ask that I make it. When we traveled we lived off of Risotto, English muffins with peanut butter and fruit bought in random grocery stores. Not the most well rounded diet, but it gave us the stamina we needed to make it through our crazy back-packing adventures. The other day I was thinking about how to use butternut squash in a new recipe and decided on risotto – not to mention that I hadn’t made risotto in a really long time – it is definitely more of a fall/winter dish than a summer dish. So Friday night after finishing my spinning class with another girl in my program I went to the grocery store to pick up Arborio Rice and headed home to embark on my new kitchen adventure. Risotto may take a while to cook, but it is definitely worth the long wait. Besides using butternut squash in my risotto for the first time, I also used white wine in it for the first time – it definitely gave it that extra boost of flavor!

6 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp. butter (divided 2 and 1)
1 small onion chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and finely diced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I used a Riesling since that’s all I had on hand)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt (if you prefer – I think there is plenty in the broth though)

Heat broth in saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a large saucepan: add the onion and butternut. Cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent – about 5 minutes.
Add rice to onion and squash. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine – stirring constantly until the wine is absorbed by the rice.  Add enough broth to cover the rice – cook on medium heat until the broth has been absorbed – continuing to slowly add broth – remember to stir every so often – this should be 15-20 min – you want the rice soft but firm to the bite.
During the last minutes of cooking add the remaining 1 tbsp. of butter and the parmesan. Your rice should be creamy – turn off heat and cover with a kitchen towel for a few minutes – my secret!
If you need more salt – you can add more at this point.

*Another tip – make sure you always stir in the same direction – trust me!

Enjoy with a glass of the wine that you used in the risotto – perfetto!