Cooking With Natural Wine

Do you ever follow a recipe that requires wine as an ingredient and ask yourself - should I use natural wine? Or should I go to the shop and just get a cheap bottle of wine to use in my cooking? If you think this is a legit dilemma, then read further. I tried to find a solution using my experience as a natural wine drinker - so these are not science driven responses!

My answer simply is that f you like drinking natural wine, then you probably should also use natural wine in your cooking. This is because even if wine is just a flavour enhancer, conventional wine still comes with all the additives added during winemaking, so if you want none of those in your food then you should stick to natural/organic/biodynamic. In the same way that you are not advised to use corked wine with food, you shouldn't cook with conventional wines if you want to stay away from the synthetic additives. You are more than welcome to pour a glass of two of natty in the pan and watch it transform into food, like you are the alchemist.

You won't normally need an entire bottle of wine to cook with, maybe a couple of glasses? So it's also a good excuse to crack open a bottle and enjoy a glass of natty while cooking.

Here is my very humble recipe for a squash (or pumpkin risotto), that you can make with your favourite natural wine, as long as it's dry and white or, even better and more Halloween-y, orange. I am not used to writing recipes and not at all professional, so apologies in advance for the very approximate measures. Just message me on Instagram if you have any questions.

Ingredients (Estimate for 2 to 3 people)

- One generous glass of natural dry white or orange wine

- Around 200g Risotto Rice (Arborio or Carnaroli - check cooking instructions which should say around 16 minutes cooking time, if not, then follow the cooking time as per package)

- Pumpkin or butternut squash or other squash, peeled and seeds removed

- 1 white onion

- Olive oil

- Butter (optional)

- Parmesan (optional)


Boil 1/2 white onion and squash until tender, then remove some of the water and use a hand blender to mash the contents of the pot into a purée. Set aside. Prepare a large pot with diced 1/2 onion, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Fry for a couple of minutes. The add all the rice and add the wine right after, continue to stir. When all wine has been absorbed, add some of the boiling water that you set aside (just about to cover the rice and not let the rice stick to the pot). When this has been absorbed, add the squash purée as needed. Continue to stir and add stock as required, for around 13 minutes. Then, add parmesan, butter (just about to make it creamy), and stir for another 3 minutes. Serve hot and with a glass of natural wine!


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