Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Old Standby

You shouldn't be surprised by now that my "old standby" is a Giada recipe. I actually can't believe it's been almost six months since I made this risotto. But as we're smack in the middle of the bleak mid-winter, I knew something savory, homey and loaded with parmasan cheese would satisfy. I'll confess I've been a bit uninspired to cook. I'll blame the weather and the apparent lack of fresh, brightly-colored produce. I can't wait for spring asparagus. If you haven't ever tried risotto before, this is a good one to start with. It's one of the more meaty entrees (it's really more of a side) that I make. I even had leftover pork sausage, which I will use to make my other standby next week.
Dirty Risotto: 1/2 pound ground pork sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup arborio (or long grain) rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
parsley, basil, salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmasan cheese Brown the meat in a large pot. Drain the fat and set aside. In a separate sauce pan, bring stock to a simmer.
In the first (now empty) sauce pan, drizzle olive oil into the pot on medium-high heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms for about 2 minutes. Toss in the rice and stir to coat the rice with oil. Throw in the wine, let it simmer and reduce. Put the sausage back in the sauce pan with the rice.
Using a ladle, spoon 1 or 2 cups of the stock from one pot to the other (now on medium heat) allowing the rice to soak up the stock. Continue stirring until the liquid has reduced, 5 to 8 minutes. Ladle another cup or two into the risotto, stir occasionally until liquid has reduced. Continue ladling periodically until the rice is cooked through. Turn off the heat. Season the risotto with parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Stir in the parmasan cheese. Serve, sprinkling extra parsley and cheese to garnish.

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