Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tomato & Sausage Risotto

Lost wallet, nail in my car tire, air conditioning in the car on the fritz... Last week was a long week.  Fortunately, I got this week off to a much better start with a smaller version of one of my favorite meals:

While risotto is often perceived as extremely time consuming, this will only take you about 30 minutes or so to make it.  Yes, this is thirty minutes of active cooking and preparation, but this risotto recipe will actually make two to three servings, though, so your time commitment will be worth it because
1)  it is delicious, and
2)  it actually makes dinner for two nights of the week.

This recipe has been adapted from Martha Stewart's original recipe.

14-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice (I used Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano) 
½ lb. Italian sausage (I used 2 ½ sausage links from a package of Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage)
½ tablespoon olive oil.
½ cup Arborio rice
¼ cup dry white wine (You can buy wine to cook with in little 4-packs at the grocery store)
3 ½ cups fresh spinach
⅓ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper

  1. Over medium heat, combine the diced tomatoes in juice with 1 ½ cups water.  Bring to a simmer and then keep warm over low heat.
  2. As you are bringing the tomatoes to a simmer, add the olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat.
  3. Add the sausage to the skillet and cook until the the sausage is cooked through.
  4. When the sausage is cooked, add the Arborio rice and stir until coated, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the white wine to the skillet and cook until the rice absorbs it, another 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Next, begin adding the tomato mixture to the rice:  add about a half cup of the hot tomato mixture, stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Continue adding the tomato mixture in half-cup increments, stirring between each addition.  Each time you add the hot tomato mixture, wait until it has been absorbed by the rice before you add another half-cup.  This process should take approximately 25 minutes in total and should use almost all of your hot tomato broth.  The rice should have a creamy and slightly tender (not mushy, but not crunchy) texture when it is done cooking (read:  test it out periodically!).
  7. When the rice has cooked, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the spinach, Parmesan cheese, and butter.  The spinach should wilt and the parmesan cheese should melt into the risotto mixture.
  8. Season with a little salt and pepper, & serve with extra Parmesan on top!
Note:  If you need another recipe or two to use up the rest of your italian sausage, I recommend cooking it up and putting it on a pizza or serve it over a bed of polenta.

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