Friday, January 8, 2016

Risotto with Italian sausages and dried porcini

Every cook has a repertoire of dishes and techniques that grows and changes over time. I can't always put my finger on when I started cooking a particular dish, but I know that this is one that I first cooked when we spent a few months in Bagni di Lucca in the autumn of 2009. It was a regular for a while, and then my kids became less than enthusiastic about it so I stopped making it. I was reminded of it the other day when I spotted a packet of arborio rice in the cupboard, so I decided to give it another go. The original recipe is from Maxine Clark's Flavours of Tuscany, although I have tweaked it a little bit.

1.35 litres of hot chicken stock
150 ml of white wine
10 g dried porcini
100g butter
450g fresh Italian sausages
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
150 ml of sieved tomatoes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
500g arborio rice
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Soak the dried porcini in the hot stock. Remove the skins from the sausages.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, gently melt 50g of the butter, add the skinless sausages and fry slowly, breaking the sausage meat up as you go.
  3. When the sausage meat has browned, add the onion and garlic and fry gently for another 10 minutes until the onion is golden.
  4. Add the tomatoes, fennel seeds, thyme and salt, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and stir thoroughly.
  6. Remove the porcini from the stock and add them to the rice.
  7. Add a few ladlefuls of the stock and the glass of white wine to the rice, and stir gently until the liquid is almost absorbed.
  8. On a low heat, add the rest of the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring while you cook, until the rice is tender but not mushy. (This should take about 20 to 30 minutes).
  9. Remove from heat, add the remaining butter, stir well, cover and leave to sit for 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with black pepper and Parmesan.

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