Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Italian Sausage, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Risotto

If I had to choose one dish that Paul and I could both eat over and over again for weeks on end, it would be risotto.  Paul and I read an article about risotto together shortly after we were married that included a basic recipe.  We tried the recipe later that day and were instantly hooked.  I was never a huge fan of rice in any form (except maybe when topped with Chinese takeout), but the creamy, cheesy risotto instantly stole my heart and became one of my favorite dishes.  So passionate are we about risotto, that we have it about once a week and keep a large bin full of arborio rice in our pantry.

Most risotto recipes we make are meatless, however Paul has been longing to try a sausage variation for a long time.  This recipe has been on the "To Make Soon" list for months and we finally got around to it last night.  It did not disappoint.  The savory, spicy sausage pairs beautifully with the mushrooms and red pepper.  We served it with a glass of red wine that paired just perfectly with the meal.  It would have been the most perfect, relaxing dinner except for the fact that Matthew decided to have a meltdown at the table, causing Paul and I to inhale our food like rabid wolves and guzzle our wine like nomads who had been wandering the desert sans water for a few days.

Risotto takes quite a bit of stirring, but it is worth the effort.  Just pour yourself a big glass of wine and savor it while standing over the oven stirring.  Plus, it is totally a cardio workout.  Which means you can eat more risotto.

Italian Sausage, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Risotto
as seen on Brown Eyed Baker

5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.  Turn the heat to low, cover, and keep warm until ready to use.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook, stirring to break it up, until it is golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and cook until tender, stirring often.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.  Season with the salt and pepper.

Add the rice and stir to coat.  Add the wine and simmer until it is all nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth and stir constantly until almost completely absorbed.  Add another 1/2 cup of broth and repeat.  Repeat this process until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy  This will take approximately 25-30 minutes.

Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Serve immediately.

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