Thursday, 15 September 2011

Sausage risotto with red wine and sage

Yep, it's another risotto recipe, this time incorporating a bit of sausage action.

Sausages and risotto are two very versatile ingredients, so why not use them together?  As always, I recommend getting the best quality sausages you can and decent stock.  The basic method for making risottos is always the same, so they're a great way of using up a few bits of whatever you have lying around.

Ingredients (to serve four reasonably hungry people):
  • 500g arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 10-12 good quality sausages - don't feel like you have to use "Italian(TM)" ones, I used nice cumberland sausages and they were great
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Handful of sage leaves
  • Glass of red wine
  • About 100g butter
  • 1 x tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 115g freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat a heavy-based pan to a high heat while you dice the onions and chop the garlic and sage.  You want to dice the onion as finely as you can so that the pieces mix in well with the grains of rice.  Chop the sausage into bitesize chunks.  In another saucepan, bring the stock to the boil and reduce to a gentle simmer - you want to keep it hot throughout the cooking process, but that's it.
  2. Pour a bit of oil into the pan and brown the sausage chunks on all sides, then remove to a pan and reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Sweat the onions for a few minutes until they soften.  Stir in the garlic, and when it's fragrant, add the rice and fry for a couple of minutes.  If you need to add more fat, use butter rather than more oil as you want a nice buttery flavour for the risotto - oil just has a higher flashpoint which makes it good for browning things on a high heat.
  4. Pour in the wine, bring it to the boil and reduce it to a simmer, all a while scraping the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to unlock the flavour from the onions and sausage (this will also make it easier to clean afterwards).  Chuck the sausages back in.
  5. When all the wine has been soaked up, add the sage and a ladle of the hot chicken stock.  Season with salt and pepper, but don't go too bad as the sausages may be quite heavily seasoned already and you'll be adding cheese later.  Keep stirring the risotto all the time and only add the stock a little bit at a time, adding the next ladle when the previous one has all been soaked up.  This will give your risotto a nice creamy texture that will make girls want to sleep with you (fact).  Keep doing this for about 15 minutes (the stir/ladle process, I mean - get your mind out of the gutter) until the rice is al-dente.
  6. When the risotto is basically done, chuck in the rest of the butter and the parmesan and beat it in - this is what the Italians call the "mantecare" and it makes your risotto silky smooth.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of red wine and a green side salad!

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