Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Risotto with sweet and complex flavors...

With a contrast between sweet caramelized onions and peppery arugula, our dinner tonight, Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onions and Bitter Greens, was a wonderful way to wind down from a long day.

This risotto was probably not the quickest of recipes we've done as of late, but just doing a mindless task such as standing at the stove and stirring a pot of rice was what I needed today. To speed up the process of the onions, the chopped pieces are sprinkled with a little granulated sugar once they are in the saucepan to help caramelize and bring out their natural sweetness.

Once the onions were deeply golden, we transferred them to a plate and tossed in a half pound of sweet Italian turkey sausage to the same skillet and allowed it to cook through and brown. Because the onion flavor was developed into a more sweet depth, a few chopped shallots are added then tossed in to bring back a mild onion note. As with most risottos, a bit of white wine is stirred in, followed by ladles of warmed chicken broth and lots of stirring. You may or may not need all of the broth mixture - when you hit the 18 minute mark or so, be sure to start tasting the rice to check for texture. You are looking for the rice to be tender, yet still have a pleasant bite to the center of the grains.

To round out the dish, bitter arugula, fresh grated pecorino Romano and lemon zest were added once this creamy risotto was ready. Arugula can be quite strong, but between the caramelized onions and salty Romano, the greens were pretty well balanced. Jeff thought the lemon zest was a little out of place for his tastes, but I thought it brought a needed freshness.


  1. I've made this! It was in Cooking Light a couple of months ago. I didn't have the lemon, though. I liked the recipe, but it's not my favorite risotto--it tasted a little too sausage-y, if that's possible. My favorite is a traditional risotto milanese with oven-roasted asparagus tossed in near the end. Yum.

  2. Jen - it would be hard to be "to sausage-y" for us, but I know what you mean!