Risotto with Italian Sausage and Broccoli

Sometimes it is fun to use the same ingredients in different ways. So, tonight’s meal is basically the same as last night only with rice in the place of potatoes. Many cooks are intimidated by risotto but it is really quite easy. It just requires a bit of patience. And, of course, the right rice; Arborio is the most common in the US and is readily available. Once you master the technique you can experiment with all sorts of fillings. Just remember the cardinal rule: never put cheese in a seafood risotto!

Ingredients

  • ½ pound bulk hot Italian pork sausage
  • 4 ounces, about 2 cups, broccoli florets
  • 2½ cups chicken or other stock
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 Tbsp. dry white vermouth
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Basil leaves to garnish

Method

Break up the sausage in a skillet and fry over medium heat until done. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the broccoli in boiling water or the microwave until just done. Set aside. Bring the stock to a boil then remove from the heat.

In a heavy bottomed pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and fry, stirring constantly, until chalky, about 3 minutes. Stir in the vermouth and cook for a few seconds then add 1 cup of the stock to the rice. Reduce the heat until the rice is simmering gently. Stir constantly until the liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue to add stock, 2 ounces at a time, stirring until nearly absorbed. After you have added 2 cups of stock taste the rice. It should offer just a bit of resistance to the tooth. If it is too hard continue to add stock until it is done.

Season the rice with salt and pepper, the amount you need will depend on the saltiness of the stock. Stir in the Parmesan then add the sausage and broccoli. Mix well over low heat to warm everything through. Serve with a couple of fresh basil leaves as garnish.

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