Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Recipe: Tomato and Basil Sausage Risotto

Have you seen this hilarious clip comparing cooking risotto by hand vs in a thermomix?

As funny as it is, it does highlight one of the BIG myths about risotto - that you have to keep constantly stirring! A few years ago I went to a great cooking class about risotto where I learned that not only is this unnecessary, it also breaks down the rice so you don't end up with the ideal consistency of fat, plump but individual grains of rice rather than a sort of porridge.

So what do you do instead? Well you do have to stir fairly regularly. Definitely when you add in liquid and every now and then to ensure it doesn't stick, but not all the time. So while it isn't the kind of meal you can leave there to look after by itself - unless you are lucky enough to have a thermomix - you don't to stand there constantly stirring. And yes you can leave it to go to the toilet!

But on to my risotto. I had been thinking of a sausage risotto when we walked into Aldi and saw their new range of gourmet sausages. With a garden full of tomato and basil, the veal, tomato and basil sausages stood out as the perfect base to me. If you don't have access to Aldi, any tomato based sausages would do. I also think it would be good with a spicy Italian sausage.

So give it a go and remember, just stir it enough to keep it from sticking!

Do you know any common food myths that make life that bit harder?

Tomato and basil sausage risotto
Serves 4 generously

Olive oil
1 medium brown onion finely diced
1 tsp chopped garlic
4 veal, tomato and basil sausages, casing removed
1.5 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
4-5 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
1 cup shredded basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
pepper to taste

Heat the stock in a small saucepan till it is steaming but not boiling.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion. When it is softened and lightly golden add the garlic and the sausages and break them up with your spoon into meatballish sized chunks. You want to get some really good colour on those sausages, that is flavour and your last chance before you add liquid.

When they are golden brown, add the rice and stir to coat with the oil and get the rice nice and hot. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the wine. Give the base a good scrape to get any caramlised bits up. Add the tomatoes and start adding your hot stock, ladle by ladle.

It will take a good 30-40 minutes of low simmering, stirring as you add each ladle of stock and occasionally in between to stop it sticking. The final amount of stock required will depend on how juicy your tomatoes are. You will know it is ready when the rice is plump and doesn't have a chalky texture when you bite a grain, but each grain is still individually distinctive.

Once you reach that point, stir in your basil, parmesan and as much pepper as you like.

Serve with more pepper to taste!

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