Risotto is one of those things that tends to intimidate people but is actually really easy. There is some stirring involved, but it doesn't really take that long and if you have it prepped in advance you can still get dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time. Sorry about the pictures with this post. My camera was not cooperating with me, but this is a really yummy dinner so I decided to post them anyway.
This recipe is very easily adapted. I used red wine because that is what Josh had open but I have made this exact dinner with white wine instead. (It will be a prettier color if you use white wine.) You can swap out the protein if you don't like sausage. Some rotisserie chicken is a quick and easy swap. As far as the vegetables go, use what you like. I had spinach that needed to get used so spinach it was. Now that I've told you how you can completely change this dish to suit your own tastes, here is the version I made this time.
Start out by browning your sausage in a deep saucepan. When it's browned drain off any fat, and then remove it from the pan and cover it to keep it warm.
In the same pan, saute a chopped onion in some melted butter and olive oil (yes, you want to use a combination of the two). Once your onion is soft add in some minced garlic and saute for about 30 more seconds. Then add in the arborio rice and toast it for a few minutes but don't let it get hard. You can do this part it advance, just turn off the burner, cover your pan (and refrigerate your sausage) until you are ready to make dinner.
Add in a cup of wine, stirring once or twice until it is absorbed. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of chicken stock over low heat. Add in the stock one ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally until absorbed, adding some basil, oregano, and thyme with the first ladleful of stock.
When you add the last ladle of stock, stir in the sausage, some baby spinach, and 1/2 a pint of halved grape tomatoes. Once the stock is absorbed, stir in some grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a little more butter. Serve with extra parmesan on the side. Dinner is served!
Red Wine & Sausage Risotto with Spinach and Tomatoes
- 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 4 tbls. butter, divided
- 2 tbls. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 bag baby spinach
- 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Spray a large, deep saute pan with cooking spray and brown sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off any fat and set aside, covering to keep it warm.
- Turn heat down to medium and melt 2 tbls. of butter with the olive oil. Once the butter is melted, saute the onion until it is soft and translucent.
- Stir minced garlic into onion, saute for about 30 seconds, and then stir in rice. Cook rice for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted, but not hard.
- Meanwhile, heat chicken stock over low heat.
- Add in wine and stir occasionally until absorbed. Stir in a ladleful of chicken stock as well as the spices.
- Stir in the stock a ladleful at a time as it is absorbed. With the last ladleful of stock, stir in the sausage, spinach, and tomatoes.
- When the stock is absorbed to the consistency desired, stir in the remaining 2 tbls. butter, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes.
- Serve with extra Parmesan.
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