Friday, January 2, 2009

Risotto with Roasted Mushrooms and Italian Sausage

Now back at home, I made a dinner that is total comfort food: a creamy risotto with roasted mushrooms and Italian sausage. It involves quite a bit of stirring but overall it is quite simple and incredibly pleasing. Here you go:

1 cup arborio rice
3 1/2 cups of stock
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 1/2 cups of water (less/more as needed)
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1lb crimini or white mushrooms, stems removed and roasted and chopped as below
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Roast mushroom caps top-side down, on cookie sheet (allowing for juices to stay put in caps) for about 15 minutes or until tender. Prepare stock in separate pot and keep to a simmer. Carefully add mushroom liquids from inside caps to the stock pot. Rough chop mushrooms and set aside. Brown sausage in a pot and remove temporarily. Remove most fat from sausage pan - leaving behind just a bit of it as well as the brown goodness.

Add olive oil and onions to the pot that you cooked the sausage in saute until translucent. Add the garlic and white wine and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone, scraping up the brown bits in the pan.

Add the rice to the pan with the onions and saute for about a minute. Stirring constantly, add 1 cup of stock to the rice at a time, allowing for the rice to fully absorb almost all liquid in between cups. At altitude, I typically have to stir/add liquid for about 30 minutes.

When rice starts to become tender and creamy (although not quite done) add sausage, mushrooms and Parmesan to the rice. Continue cooking/stirring/adding liquid until the rice is tender but still has a bite, and has a creamy texture. Just before serving stir in parsley, reserving some for garnish.

Variation....skip the sausage all together. Replace the crimini mushrooms with dried porcinis. Place 80z. of dried porcinis in a bowl with 2 cups boiling water and let sit for fifteen minutes. Remove mushrooms, chop and hold. Reserving the mushroom liquid to add to the risotto.

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