A recipe for a simple, basic risotto is one that can be built on by adding almost anything from vegetables to seafood. In this recipe I used a combination of radicchio lettuce and Italian sausage to flavor my risotto which turned out delicious. The contrast between the slightly bitter radicchio and the creamy risotto is wonderful, and adding some top quality sausage meat just takes this dish up another level. This recipe can be varied by using a rich red wine in place of the white wine. If using the red wine, I would increase the volume of the wine to 1 cup and decrease the broth accordingly.
Preparing risotto at home requires a particular cooking technique that is found primarily in northern Italy and used for all risotto dishes you may want to make. Although the flavoring additions are endless, you need to start with the same basics every time. The two main ingredients consist of the rice and broth. You should use an Italian variety of rice that is specifically grown in Italy, such as Arborio, Vialone Nano, or Cararoli. Arborio can now be found in most American grocery stores, but certainly can be found at an Italian specialty store.
The broth should be homemade; to ensure the most flavorful results, but if time or circumstances make having homemade broth impossible, use the best canned broth you can find. Chicken, vegetable, fish and meat broths are all used depending on the other ingredients used in the dish.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 6 Cups Chicken Broth, Heated
- 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter - Remove 2 Tablespoons To Finish The Dish
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3 to 4 Small Sausage Links (About 8 to 10 Ounces) Removed From The Casings And Broken Into Pieces
- 3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
- 1 1/2 Cups Arborio Rice
- 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 Small Head Radicchio Lettuce, Cored And Shredded
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Heat the 3 tablespoons of butter and olive oil in a heavy saucepan, then add the onions and sausage pieces and cook until the onions are translucent and the sausage pieces are no longer pink.
- You can use two forks to break up the sausage into smaller pieves.
- Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter.
- Add the white wine, and stir continually over medium heat until it is absorbed.
- Start to add 1/2 cup of hot broth, stirring continually as it is absorbed.
- After 10 minutes add the shredded radicchio and mix well.
- Continue in this manner, adding ladles full of hot broth, and stirring continuously for total cooking time of about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked, but remains slightly firm to the teeth.
- Remove from the heat, add the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese.
- Serve, offering additional cheese if desired.