Risotto with Sausage & Fennel

SUNDAY

Risotto with Grilled Sausages & Peppers and Fennel

Intro Collage

 

“Creamy risotto, dotted with fresh spring peas or delicate shellfish, is a classic of the northern Italian table.  This versatile dish never ceases to please ~ combining the satisfying flavors of tender rice, fresh herbs, and seasonal ingredients with delicious results.  Whether featuring grilled sausage and bell peppers, wild mushrooms, or the perfect pairing of salmon and dill, risotto is as equally well-suited to simple suppers as it is to formal dinner parties.” ~ Pamela Sheldon Johns {Williams-Sonoma Risotto, Simon & Schuster Source, 2002}

 

Risotto is one of the first dishes I learned how to cook on my own before heading off to college.  Because of it’s versatility, risotto has served me well throughout my years in the kitchen.  A basic risotto is creamy comfort food at it’s best and with the addition of one or two ingredients can be transformed into an elegant dinner.  I distinctly remember the very first dinner “party” I hosted in our first home several years ago…I served a lobster risotto with a wonderful White Burgundy from France and a lemon soufflé for dessert.  At the time, we lived in a small town {Ipswich, Massachusetts} on Boston’s North shore.  The lobster had been caught that very morning of our dinner and I had purchased it right at the fishing docks in nearby Gloucester.  There were just six of us, good friends, and we ate outside by candlelight on a warm summer evening after spending the afternoon at the beach.  Twenty-two years {and many dinner parties} later, the memory of that dinner remains one of my favorites.

“Since risotto is such a simple dish, always use the best ingredients you can find:  high-quality rice, fresh seasonal vegetables, good wine, flavorful stock, and sweet butter.  Plus keep in mind that making risotto requires attention – from coating the rice with oil to stirring in stock just one ladleful at a time to adding the final seasonings.” ~ Chuck Williams {Williams-Sonoma Risotto, Simon & Schuster Source, 2002}

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Peppers Collage

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Risotto with Sausage & Fennel {adapted from Williams-Sonoma Risotto}

  • 1½ – 2 pounds Italian sausages
  • 8 cups chicken stock {preferably homemade}
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups Carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine {at room temperature}
  • 2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 orange bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare a charcoal grill.  When the coals are hot, place the peppers, skin side down on the grill and roast until the skins blacken and blister.  Remove peppers to a paper bag and twist bag shut, allowing the peppers to steam a bit.
  2. Meanwhile, lightly brush the sausages with oil and grill until nicely browned, about 5 minutes a side.  Transfer the sausages to a cutting board and let cool to the touch.  Cut the sausages into 2 inch pieces and set aside.  Remove peppers from bag and gently remove the blackened skins.  Slice peppers into thin strips and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.
  4. In a large, heavy pot, heat the ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and fennel and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 4 minutes.  Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.
  5. Add the simmering stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly after each addition.  Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed {but the rice is never dry on top} before adding the next ladleful.  Reserve ¼ cup of the stock to add at the end.
  6. When the rice is tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy {about 20 minutes} add the bell peppers and sausages.  Cook stirring occasionally to heat through {2 minutes}.  Remove pot from the heat and stir in the butter and reserved stock.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve at once with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

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K Initial

 

 

 

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One thought on “Risotto with Sausage & Fennel

  1. I love risotto but have never had this version. MAybe I can convince my girlfriend to make it for me. All the meals sound great!

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