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 Mac & Cheese Bake

Mac & Cheese Bake

Nothing beats a good bowl of Mac & Cheese, but I didn’t want to have the traditional Kraft Mac & Cheese so thought I would go searching for an amped up version. I came across the Curvy Carrot Blog where the blogger posted a clever way of serving up mac and cheese – in mini pie forms. Now I adapted the recipe quite a bit and yet it was delicious, but the ideas all stem from the blog.

Servings: 2

6 crackers – I used whole grain crackers we had on hand (the blogger used ritz crackers)
½ Cup Cheddar Cheese, grated and divided
1 Tbsp. Melted butter
2 handfuls of uncooked whole grain penne noodles
2 oz. of grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. egg white
1/8 cup milk
1 Tbsp. Cottage Cheese
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes – pending on how much of a kick you want

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray two ramekins and set aside
In a food processor, combine the crushed crackers, 1/4 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, and the melted butter. Blend together until it sticks together. Press into the bottoms and up the sides of the ramekins.
In another large bowl, combine the cooked (and still hot!) macaroni with 1/8 cup of the shredded cheddar, and the parmesan cheese, mixing well.
Then add the egg white, milk, cottage cheese and red pepper flakes. Mix until all the ingredients have melted and the mixture is smooth.
Divide the macaroni mixture between your two ramekins.
Top each muffin cup with the remaining 1/8 cup of cheddar.
Bake the mac and cheese until lightly golden on top, about 20-25 minutes.
Let cool slightly before removing from the muffin pan, serve immediately.