Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sausage and mushroom risotto

Refrigerator dinners do not usually end up as risotto, but it just so happened this past week that I had everything I needed on hand: Protein, veggies, boullion, wine and arborio rice.

I am trying to eat more vegetables, so there is half a box of mushrooms and a whole zucchini in this. You could easily replace the zucchini with another green vegetable, about 1 1/2 cups chopped or so, such as broccoli or asparagus.

Usually I like to make risotto out of barley, but for some reason, I'm having a hard time locating pearled barley in the local store. Barley has a lot more fiber and is generally better for you, although it lacks that creamy texture of arborio rice. And by some twist of fate, I had recently bought a packet of the arborio rice.

I actually remembered to get sausage out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge the night before. I can only claim insanity on this. Also, I had bought mushrooms for kabobs which we never made. In other words, the stars aligned for this dish alone.

I should mention that in no way did I think this would end up on the blog, so as a result -- no photos. :( Lesson: always keep the camera by the stove... ? Maybe I should get a camera canister?

Anyway, here's the recipe, as I made it.

Sausage and mushroom risotto

1 lb. mild ground sausage
4 cups water
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 beef boullion cube
4 T olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 pack baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1 green zucchini, cut into quarter slices
8 oz. mozzarella cheese

Heat 4 cups of water in microwave or on stove. Add all boullion cubes and whisk to dissolve. Set aside.

Turn large burner on stove to medium-low. Heat 2 T. olive oil in the largest saucepan you have. Do not skimp on the size here, as there are several ingredient to fit in the pan.

Add onion, mushrooms and garlic to the pan. Saute til onions turn translucent. Push mixture to the sides of the pan, creating a small well.

Add remaining olive oil to middle of pan, and add rice to the pan. Stir to coat rice with oil. Once coated, stir entire mixture together. Saute until rice is translucent save for a small dot in the middle. Add salt and pepper.

Add wine to pan, and stir. Cook until liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup of broth, and cook until liquid is absorbed again. Add zucchini to risotto, and another cup of broth. Cook until absorbed. You'll know when the risotto is ready for more broth, as you'll be able to scrape a line down the center of the pan.

While this is cooking, turn small burner to medium. Place sausage in medium skillet and break up into pieces. Brown and drain. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate, and press with a double layer of paper towel to soak up grease. Set aside.

Add the third cup of broth, and cook until liquid is absorbed again. Add last cup of broth and the browned sausage to risotto. Stir.

Shred mozzarella onto a plate. Once risotto is bubbling, taste with small spoon to check seasoning. Top with mozzarella, and turn off heat.

This took about an hour to make, and that's a lot of time for a weeknight. However, the result was a one-dish meal that was worth the wait. :) To save time, you can brown the sausage ahead of time, and pre-prep vegetables. Or, you can wait for the weekend. Either way, enjoy!

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