Dirty Risotto

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First, yes that is a white plate. I broke down and bought a few. Some meals just look prettier on a clean white plate. I still love my Fiestaware though, so this white plate will be just an occasional thing. Now returning to regularly scheduled blogging.

Oh, do I love risotto. It can be a bit time consuming, not difficult at all, just time consuming. But in the end it is just so worth it. It’s just so amazing what can happen to rice with a little (OK, a LOT) of stirring and some time. It’s so creamy, without actually using cream. It’s also so adaptable. You can make more plain and serve it as a side dish or you can load it up and serve it as a main course.

This particular recipe is the bomb, an Italian twist on a Cajun classic. It’s got a hint of spice from the sausage and the smooth creamy feel that’s what makes risotto so good.

I only made a few changes to the recipe. I felt like peas were calling to me, saying, “Add me.” So I did. I also used turkey Italian sausage and I completely forgot to buy pancetta. I’m leaving it on the ingredient list simply because I know it would be an awesome addition and only left it out because I forgot.

Dirty Risotto
(Adapted from Food Network Favorites:Recipes from our All-Star Chefs)

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
2 oz pancetta, chopped
1 link (about 6 ounces) spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 oz button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (optional)

In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a simmer. Keep warm while preparing the rice.

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted add the pancetta and sausage and cook until golden brown. Remove sausage from pan and keep warm on a plate. Add onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms and saute until tender. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine using the liquid to scrape up any brown bits left on the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated, then add 1/2 cup of the warm broth. Stir until mostly absorbed. Continuing cooking the rice, adding 1/2 cup of warm broth at a time, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding the next, and stirring constantly. This process will take about 30 minutes. When the last addition is absorbed add the Parmesan, peas, and return the sausage to the pan.

Sprinkle with additional Parmesan and chopped parsley for garnish. Serve immediately.

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