Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Risotto with Sausage, Leeks and Roasted Red Pepper

This risotto came about because I had a whole lot of things to use up...and the result was a creamy, rich, filling and flavour loaded meal.

2 Tandoori chicken sausages
Half a roasted red pepper
Half a leek
Some cream sauce from a previous dinner
The last onion in the house
Half a glass of leftover white wine

In a hot pan, with a drizzle of olive oil, cook:

1 small onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced

Cook until the onion and celery soften, but don't let them colour.

Now add in 11 ounces of arborio rice, and stir for a minute to coat the rice with the oil.

Pour the half glass of wine into the pan; it will sizzle. Stir over a medium low heat until the wine is evaporated.

Add half a cup of warm chicken stock, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the stock is all absorbed by the rice.

Continue to add stock, allowing it to absorb before adding the next half cup. Keep an eye on the heat, it should not be too high, or the stock will evaporate before it is absorbed.

When the rice is almost cooked through, but still retaining a bit of a bite, remove it from the heat and spread it out onto a lightly greased baking tray to cool.

Remove the casing from the sausages, and cook the meat, breaking it up with a spoon. When it is cooked through, set it aside.

In the same pan (it has all the sausage flavour) add a bit of olive oil and cook the sliced leeks, until they start to soften.

Add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the pan while the leeks are cooking.

Add the cooked rice to the leeks, and continue to cook, adding chicken stock as needed, until the rice is fully cooked.

Add the cooked sausage, sliced roasted red pepper and season with salt and pepper.

Stir the cream sauce into the risotto, and allow everything to heat through.

Just before serving, stir in a handful of grated Parmesan, and some chopped fresh parsley.

Taste, and adjust seasoning.

I served the risotto with some blanched green beans, and an extra sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

  • This recipe will serve 4 people as an entree; more as a side dish or accompaniment to stew or braised meat (omit the sausage).
  • I used a total of 3 cups of chicken stock, and about 1/2 cup of water.
  • The wine can be omitted, or you can use juice instead...apple juice will add a nice sweetness to the risotto, especially if you are using pork sausage or serving it as a side to pork.
  • The green beans added a crunchy contrast to the creamy risotto, as well as visual appeal.
  • The sprig of rosemary added a lot of flavour, so did the sausage. The leftover cream sauce had garlic in it, so all the dish really needed was salt and pepper to round out the seasoning.
  • Instead of sausage try cooked diced bacon or chicken breasts, especially if they have been marinated first. Dice, skewer and grill the chicken breast and top each portion with a kebab.
  • The rice can be cooked a couple of days ahead, and kept well wrapped in the fridge. Make extra and you can make risotto balls to freeze for another meal. Roll the cold risotto into 2" balls, dip in egg wash and then roll in breadcrumbs. Bake in a 425F oven for about 20 minutes. They can be stuffed with cheese before coating in egg and breadcrumbs.
  • Add herbs and spices to give character to your risotto...fresh basil, thyme or sage; chili flakes, crushed fennel seeds or paprika. Add garlic, fresh or roasted. Instead of roasted sweet pepper, why not roast some hot peppers, and add them for the smokiness and extra heat.
  • Brown rice can be substituted for arborio rice.
  • Peel and dice butternut squash, toss in olive oil and spices, roast until tender. Add this into the risotto just before serving. 
  • Extra pumpkin from making pumpkin pie? Stir some into a risotto, add minced fresh sage, a pinch of nutmeg, a bit of cream and top with goat cheese.

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