Belly Up To the Bar.

Is it weird that I am like clued in to recipes that contain alcohol? If there is a boozy recipe in the vicinity, I will seek it out and spend at least a minute or two perusing it. Then I’ll  smile, oooh and ahhh, and add it to my hefty “To-be-made” file. I did buy an entire cookbook devoted to Jack Daniels, after all. Do I have problem? Is an intervention necessary? A 12-step program?

Hello, my name is Erin…yadda, yadda, yadda…

Really, I just love the flavors a well-stocked bar bring to the kitchen. Red wine adds such richness and white – a great citrusy brightness. Whiskey/bourbon add warmth and spice while Marsala, a subtle sweetness. And beer? Well, we are before anything else, simple, beer-drinking people so adding our favorite frosty beverage to cooking just feels right! And tastes great! Mmmmm. Beer. (Homer Simpson is my homeboy 😉 )

Anyway, this risotto had me written all over it. I mean, it has the “drunken” in its title, for goodness sake! Anything that’s drunk has got to be good, right? On second thought…maybe, no, DEFINITELY not. (As that old, 80s PSA used to say…”Be Smart. Don’t Start.”) But it’s okay for your risotto to be drunk…it’s not driving.

I’ve actually had a stash of Arborio rice in my pantry for quite sometime. I bought it for another risotto recipe that I ended up deciding was just so-so. It was time to bring it out again and try another. Risotto may sound intimidating, but really, it’s pretty easy. Yes, you have to stand there and stir it for twenty minutes, but really, you can basically make a whole meal in just one pot. Put your husband to work tossing a salad while you stir. Then eat. See. Easy-peasy.

This one gets it’s “drunken” label (and FAB color) from copious amounts of red wine. With flavorful sausage, a salty bite from the cheese, and a punch of color from the spinach, this is an impressive and delicious dish. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly as written (just subbed in turkey sausage and parm cheese) and I thought it was great as is. Eric kind of rasied his eyebrows when I put this down in front of him. “Is this grape-flavored rice?” he asked. Ha.

No, but there’s an idea.



  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound bulk Italian sweet or hot sausage (I used sweet Italian turkey sausage)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 pound bundled farm spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped (about 2 cups, packed)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (I used ground)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp Pecorino Romano cheese (a couple of handfuls) (I subbed Parmesan because I had it on hand.)


  1. Heat the wine and stock and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Using a heavy pot with rounded sides, prepare the risotto. Add two tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown and crumble it for a couple of minutes, then add the onion and garlic and soften them up for a couple of minutes more. Stir in the rice and combine; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Start adding the warm liquids a couple of ladles at a time, stirring vigorously each time you add the liquids to develop the starch. Allow the liquids to almost fully evaporate before adding more. From the time you begin adding the liquids, the risotto will take 18 minutes to prepare. In the last 5 minutes of cook time, stir in the spinach, wilting it in one handful at a time. Stir in nutmeg. In the last minute of cook time melt in the 2 tablespoons butter, then stir in cheese. Serve immediately.


One Year Ago: I broke in my new KA 12-cup food processor with this sun-dried tomato pesto. Mmmm.


Filed under pasta, sausage, veggies

3 responses to “Belly Up To the Bar.

  1. I love, love recipes with alcohol too! It gives so much depth to a dish. Your risotto sounds delicious by the way! 🙂

  2. What a beautiful hue provided by the wine! I am sure the added sausage is delectable.

  3. Pingback: Happy (Official) St. Patrick’s Day! « Milk & Honey

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