Sometimes I'll mention a recipe to my father, and if it starts with the words "Italian sausage" I don't think it matters that much what words comes after, he's already sold!
We recently made this risotto recipe together (barely adapted from Bon Appetit); dad did the provisioning, the mushroom prep, and sausage cooking, while I sat on a stool stirring the risotto for a half an hour while the rice slowly absorbed the stock, a cupful at a time.
Making risotto requires patience, it cannot be rushed. The rice will only absorb so much liquid at a time; it is the perfect "slow food".
Neither one of us counts patience as a virtue, but perhaps I have a little more when it comes to the long, slow stirring that this dish requires, so that's the job I happily take.
Italian Sausage and Mushroom Risotto
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from casings, crumbled
- 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, diced
- 10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 cups Madeira (divided, 1/2 cup and 1 cup)
- 6 cups chicken stock (use gluten-free stock if cooking gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese (for topping)
Cook the sausage and mushrooms
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan, spreading it out in an even layer. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the mushrooms, thyme, and oregano. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the Madeira and scrape to deglaze the pan, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Heat chicken stock until it is steamy or simmering in a large saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Cook onions and garlic in butter
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice
Add the rice to the onions and cook for a couple of minutes, until the rice starts to brown.
Add remaining 1 cup Madeira.
Cook, stirring constantly until Madeira has been absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Add the hot stock, one ladleful at a time
and simmer until it is almost all absorbed by the rice, after each addition. Slowly stir the rice while it is cooking in the stock.
Continue to cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more stock by ladlefuls, stirring often and allowing most stock to be absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes.
Stir in the sausage and mushrooms.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese to serve.
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine.