With A Name Like “Drunken Risotto”, It’s Got To Be Good

by Gigi Ross on January 8, 2010

 It’s very cold here in the Great State – wind chills in the teens! When I checked the weather earlier this week, I knew I needed to get some warm, hearty food on the menu as it was getting colder. I’ve been keeping this recipe in my file for awhile and decided this would be the week to give it a try. I’m finally at a point where risotto doesn’t intimidate me and I’m ready to venture out into some variations on the theme.

I really liked this recipe. Super hearty and lots of flavor. Easy to make and I loved the idea of cooking the risotto in a red wine/chicken stock combination. It’s a keeper. I *do* think it needs another ingredient to balance the spice of the hot Italian sausage, but I can’t quite figure out what it is. I tried adding some fresh chopped tomatoes but it wasn’t the right element. Considering some fresh bufala mozzarella pieces on top for the next go-round.  Also – be prepared to have more wine or more stock (or water) on hand. I found the 5 cups of liquid to be insufficient to fully cook the risotto. Enjoy!

Drunken Risotto with Sausage and Spinach (recipe courtesy Rachael Ray)

  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3/4 pound bulk Italian sweet or hot sausage
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 pound spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the wine and chicken stock; keep warm over a low flame.
  2. In a large, heavy pot, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling the meat, until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper. Add the warm wine-stock mixture a couple of ladlefuls at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition and letting the liquid evaporate before adding more, cooking the risotto for 18 minutes.
  3. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the spinach, a handful at a time, to wilt. Stir in the nutmeg. In the last minute of cooking, stir in the butter, then the cheese.

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