Risotto nights follow a trend. Mr. Prevention works late, I pour a glass of wine and maybe grab a small wedge of cheese to nibble on, and I play my iPod to something along the lines of Party Rock Anthem.
Lily looks at me in complete surrender, as pancetta crisps on the stove top. My chicken broth (low sodium, fat-free!) and wine are simmering away, and to my amazement, the arborio rice slowly slurps up the liquid to a plumpy, creamy perfection.
Just when I thought the rice couldn’t intake another milliliter…sllluuurrpp. It was gone.
“To go with your risotto…right…now, my dear.” I say.
Risotto isn’t difficult, but takes a watchful eye. So pour yourself a glass of wine, blast your favorite, shameless tunes, and enjoy. It’s meals like this that remind me why I love cooking.
2 oz pancetta, diced finely
1 tsp olive oil
2 links hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed and broken into small pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
pinch of saffron
1 cup of dry white wine
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped finely
In a small pot, heat the chicken broth and dry white wine to near boiling. Keep on a low simmer until ready to use.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and remove from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Add sausage to the pan, and cook until completely browned. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the pan drippings in the pan.
Add the onions and cook until translucent, add the garlic and let cook for one minute. Add the rice, and stir to combine to make sure each grain is coated. Add the diced tomatoes and a pinch of saffron to the pan, make sure to rub the saffron between your fingers to break it up and intensify the flavor. Stir to combine.
Add one ladle at a time of the white wine/chicken broth mixture to the Dutch oven. Stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat procedure (stir and ladle) for around twenty minutes, until the rice is slightly tender to taste. The rice will produce a thick, creamy sauce in the course of cooking and stirring.
Bring to a lower simmer and stir in the sausage, heavy cream and parmigiano reggiano cheese. Serve immediately, and garnish with a sprinkle of parmigiano cheese, crispy pancetta, and freshly diced parsley. Yield: 4 servings (1 1/3 cups each).
Nutrition Information (per serving): 452 calories; 16.3 g. fat; 65 mg. cholesterol; 590 mg. sodium; 42.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.8 g. fiber; 18.5 g. protein
Result: I’ve never cooked with saffron before, but it gave the most stunning ceramic color and subtle, savory flavor that compliments the turkey sausage and wine perfectly. Just a pinch went a lot way and I am feeling far less guilty for spending the $15 on the spice (I used about 1/6th of what I bought, or less). Next time, I think I would add another link of turkey sausage and leave out the pancetta, or just leave out the pancetta all together. I just don’t know that it added enough to justify the cost, calories, fat, and sodium. But, we loved this…very, very good! Enjoy!
I can’t believe the weekend is up already. Lucky for me, I am off work today! That’s a very good thing because 1) Kristen may be the only person on earth who sleeps in less than me and late nights + early mornings a girl cannot do for long and 2) I need to lesson plan my little heart away. Classes begin in 9 days – eek!
Question: What was the highlight of your weekend?
It’s hard to choose but I’ll either go with goat cheese and cherry ice cream from the famous Jeni’s or scoring my first goal in ice-hockey in a very (embarrassingly long) time. The fact that my goal was with just a few seconds left in the game and on an empty net when we were up 5-3 is besides the point, right? 😉
Happy Monday! Have a great week!