Dirty Risotto

So I have finally regrouped from the Thanksgiving holiday and all those wonderful leftovers we had. It was definitely nice to get back in the kitchen to make something totally unrelated to holiday food. Especially since I'll be having a very similar meal in the very near future with Christmas only 2 1/2 weeks away.  At least this time I'll leave all the majority of the cooking to my mother.

This weekend, I finally tried my hand at this "Dirty" Risotto I first spotted a couple of months ago over on the brown eyed baker's blog. She adapted it from a recipe on the food network by Giada De Laurentiis and made it look so good.

I quickly feel into a deep like for the dish.  The kind of like that distracts you with fleeting thoughts every so often.  The kind of like where your feelings deepen every time you look at the picture (I bookmarked it to further torture myself). I was hoping the feelings would finally give me the courage to make it.

You see, I have always been a little hesitant on making risotto because the dish just seemed too intimidating.  There is a certain technique of having to constantly stir the ingredients while adding the liquid (stock) and paying specific attention to achieve the right texture of the rice...not too chewy, not too firm.  I made a tomato risotto once before, a few years back, and was not impressed.  That just solidified my need to leave this dish to the restaurant chefs.

But that deep like continued to gnaw at me. And the last time I looked at the bookmarked picture that was it.  I pumped myself up and knew it was now or never.  If the picture had me hooked, I could only imagine what tasting this dish could do for me.

And I'm here to tell you, I did indeed cross the threshold and am officially in love.  This risotto was simply fantastic and Mr. Foodie will definitely cosign this statement.   The dish was savory and layered with full flavors from the combination of white wine and chicken stock.  And to my delight, it was not complicated to make at all.  I did have to exercise a little patience (not one of my strong points) but all for a good cause. So please don't let the idea of the dish being complicated deter you from trying this.  It was superb.  

Dirty Risotto
Printable Recipe
serves 6

5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
8 oz ground Italian sausage
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 oz white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley (I forgot to use this)

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.  Cover and keep warm on low heat until ready to use later

In a large and heavy saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sausage and crumble while sauteing until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.  Remember to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. There is great flavor in that stuff. Season with salt and pepper (eyeball it)

Add the rice and stir in the pan to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost evaporated, approximately 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup simmering broth and stir until almost fully absorbed, about 2 minutes.  Continue cooking the rice over medium-low heat, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, allowing each addition of the broth to absorb before adding the next.  Continue this until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite.  The mixture should be creamy.  This process will take approximately 25-30 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and incorporate well. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

adapted from browneyedbaker.com originally from foodnetwork.com

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