Italian Sausage, Wild Mushroom & Chianti Risotto
Don’t be fooled by the fancy title of this dish as really, the dish couldn’t be more simple. Butcher quality Italian pork sausages were the inspiration and what better pairing than the earthy flavour of a combination of dried and fresh mushrooms. A rich, red wine stock base and a smattering of my favourite veg of the moment, curly kale. This is comfort food at its finest, so pour yourself a glass of red, whack on some crooning tunes and let’s get cooking.
Any red wine will do, I just happened to pick up a bottle of really good Chianti at Aldi at an enormous cost of $5.99. It went down a treat with the Risotto as well as in it. One more thing…..don’t be afraid of Risotto. It is one of my favourite meals to cook as there is something really therapeutic about stirring and watching those little grains of goodness absorbing the liquid. Just keep your heat nice and low and enjoy the process……
Prep time: 25 Minutes Cooking time: 25 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
40gm of butter
2 tbs of olive oil
6 small or 4 large good quality Italian pork sausages
1 brown onion, very finely diced
2 celery stalks, very finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
6 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and stalks discarded
20gm of dried mixed mushrooms*
1 punnet of swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
11/2 cups of arborio rice
1 cup of red wine
1 cup of mushroom liquid
3 cups of beef stock
1 bag of chopped kale or 1/2 a bunch, finely shredded
1/2 cup of grated parmesan
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Chopped parsley or Micro herbs for garnish
Extra grated parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve
Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for approximately 15 minutes, then drain through a sieve (to retain any grit) and reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Roughly chop the soaked mushrooms.
Heat a large heavy based pot or pan and add half the butter and the olive oil. When the butter has melted and is sizzling, add the onion and fry until soft before adding the celery, garlic, mushrooms and thyme leaves. Keep the heat fairly moderate and while the onion etc is continuing to cook, cut the knot off the end of the sausages (if there is one) and pull the meat out of the sausage casing in little mini meatball pieces and add them to the pan. Once all the sausage meat is in the pan continue to cook until they are nice and browned all over.
Add the rice to the pan and stir it through the other ingredients so that all the little grains are coated in the oil. Add the wine to the pan, keeping the heat medium and stir occasionally, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Once it is almost absorbed continue with the mushroom liquid and then the stock, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking on the bottom. The rice will take about 20 minutes to absorb the liquid and be cooked through. You want the rice to still have a little bit of bite in the centre and not be too stodgy.
Once the liquid is almost completely absorbed, add the kale, parmesan and the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Pop a lid on and reduce the heat to low…… you just want to wilt the kale enough for it to be stirred through the rice.
Divide the risotto between four serving bowls, sprinkle over the extra parmesan, drizzle over a little olive oil and top with chopped parsley or micro herbs. Tutti a Tavola a Mangiere!!
*Coles and Woolworths often stock dried Porcini or Mixed Wild Mushrooms in the fruit and veg section. They are also available in gourmet food shops and of course, online…..