Everyone should have a favourite risotto recipe that they feel confident about making and this is most definitely a contender. Delicious chunks of sausage meat, fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes and diced roasted paper add texture and complement each other to make a decadent and luxurious but also fresh and herby risotto.
We’ve been eating risotto for a long time but we only started making it “right” one day about 3 years ago. As an uninformed cook I had never even looked up a risotto recipe. I knew the basic concept (so I thought) and so just assumed that you dumped the rice and stock in one pan and cooked it, cooked other stuff separately in another pan and then mixed it all in together and served it as a big pile of oozing mush (normally with a load of grated cheese on top). So that was how we did it and don’t get me wrong, it tasted good!
But learning how to do a risotto properly has been one of the best culinary achievements of my life. Yes, it’s so much more work toasting the rice first and then standing over it, feeding it ladles of stock and nurturing it but the end result is worth it and so different to the big pile of starchy stodgy mess that we used to call risotto.
This is the first from my collection of risottos that I’m sharing with you but I can almost certainly promise you that it won’t be the last.
If you’ve skipped ahead already and read the recipe, you may be thinking….why bother with this business with squeezing the meat out of the skins? Why not just cook the sausages separately, chop them up and add them to the risotto? Sounds like a lot of unnecessary faffing and work to me!
So let me explain the method to my madness (yes there really is one!). I won’t lie to you – it IS a somewhat grim business squeezing sausage meat out (if you are a bit squeamish about handling raw meat) but it doesn’t take long and you can hurry to the sink and wash your hands as soon as it’s over – believe me, that’s what I do!
Now, the benefits… What this mildly disgusting task is going to give you is some big meaty chunks and some little bitty bits. When you fry the sausage meat those little bits are going to crisp up a bit and the meaty bits are going to stay meaty and it’s all going to help add different textures into the risotto.
A bit of a surprise ingredient in this risotto is the roasted peppers. I pretty much always have a jar of them in the fridge. During a recipe refining session, I saw them in the fridge and decided to try them. And what do you know – they make a great addition to a risotto. They are not the cheapest ingredient but a little goes a long way and because they are essentially pickled they can just sit in the fridge for ages. If you can’t get them in your supermarket, have a look here.
Now, as I have said, it is a Process (yes so much so that the word required a capital) making a risotto. I have found through 101 recipe creating and perfecting sessions that the best way is to have a large sauté pan on a front ring/burner for the risotto in and then on the ring/burner behind it I have a saucepan with the stock in it. This way I can just ladle the stock over into the front pan easily and with minimal mess.
It may seem like a given, but a decent set of pans is such an essential. We survived for over 2 years on a rag tag collection of hand-me-down pans from family until we could afford to actually buy a proper set and it’s not a cheap thing to buy. I love a bargain but unfortunately with pans (and most kitchenware) you get what you pay for. Sure, wait for there to be a sale but ultimately (and I don’t say this lightly) you want the best set you can afford.
We bought a set which should have been around £200 but by chance we were looking when it was one of Amazon’s lightning deals, meaning it had about £40 knocked off – which is a big deal when you’re talking about something that price! The set we chose was pretty complete – 3 saucepans, 3 frying pans, a sauté pan and a big huge soup-type pot. All the pans are heavy bottomed, induction safe and dishwasher safe (very important because we hate, hate, hate washing up!).
They don’t seem to sell the exact set we bought anymore (it was over 4 years ago) but it was something very similar to this. If you don’t know what you’re looking at then I’d recommend that you set aside some time. You want to examine price but also customer reviews, as well as ratings. I’ve found that (and I’m still unsure as to exactly how) a product can have 5/5 stars but if you read through the reviews, there are only a couple that are wholly positive and far more that are negative!
Anyway, we eventually whittled it down to 3 sets, made a list of pros and cons and decided from that. Lengthy process, yes, but you want to be as sure as you can before you part with the cash. One of the benefits of online shopping versus actual shopping is that nowadays we can make a much more informed decision about things and actually compare features or pros/cons!
Back on topic – try serving this with my cheese and herb topped focaccia for a special occasion and as always please let me know what you thought about the risotto (or about any changes you made that worked well) in the comments section or by using the Contact me form. Enjoy! DDx
Herby sausage risotto
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
A delicious risotto with sausage, fresh herbs, tangy roasted peppers and cherry tomatoes.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 25 g parmesan, grated
- 75 ml white wine
- 4 Lincolnshire sausages (or Cumberland)
- 700 ml hot chicken stock
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 150 g risotto rice
- 100 g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 75 g of roasted pepper (from a jar), drained and diced
- Pinch of fennel seeds (OPTIONAL)
- Black pepper
- Slit the skin of the sausages and squeeze the meat out into a bowl in various sized chunks. Put 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium frying pan and place over a medium heat. When hot, add the chunks of sausage meat and a pinch of fennel seeds (IF USING). Season with black pepper and fry gently, stirring occasionally while you begin the risotto.
- While the sausage meat cooks, put about 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large shallow pan and place over a low heat. Add the onion and fry until it starts to take on some colour, then add the risotto rice garlic, and herbs. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly until the rice starts to become glossy.
- When the sausage meat is golden brown, cooked through and some of the small bits have crisped up, turn off the heat and set aside.
- Add the white wine, bring up to the boil and then simmer until the liquid reduces.
- Put your chicken stock into a saucepan and place on a low heat. Add a ladle of stock to the risotto pan, stirring in. Continue to add, one ladle at a time, waiting until the previous one has been mostly absorbed before adding the next. Repeat the process for about 20 minutes – the risotto rice should still have just a hint of bite to it.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the risotto rice is cooked, add the diced pepper, sausage meat and grated cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted. Serve hot.
- I’ve specified Lincolnshire (or Cumberland) sausages for the risotto: you could use any but they are best for maximum herby gorgeous flavour!
- Stock FYI: For the base recipe (2 servings) I use 2 chicken stock cubes dissolved in 700ml boiling water.
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Serving Size: Per serving
- Calories: 978.86kcal