The Wonderful World of Risotto

I would first like to apologize to you dear faithful readers of Tellurian Things for neglecting my duties as the monthly food blogger. I hope you were not too disappointed. I’ll make it up to you someday. I also need to apologize for breaking the promise that my next blog entry would be on something Honduran. I have been working on my Honduran food, but I haven’t taken any pictures and my writing is not entertaining enough to muddle through without a little eye candy. So you’ll have to wait for that. But, I promise to make it worth it.

BUT to make it up to you, this post is about one of the most delicious things you can eat. It also happens to be a pretty simple thing to prepare and there’s no limit to what you can do with it! This is, as mentioned in the title, risotto. I love risotto. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t (except kind of for my dad) and can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t. It is delicious. But, a lot of people are intimidated by it.

I’m here to say, “Don’t be afraid! Cook risotto! Eat risotto!”

If you’ve never had it before, risotto is just an Italian rice dish made with arborio rice. Not all grocery stores have arborio rice, and you really need it for the right consistency for your risotto. Arborio makes the risotto really creamy without having to add any cream. But it is worth any lengths you must go to to find it.

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Arborio rice, just find it.

Now one great thing about risotto is that you can add ANYTHING you want to it. The recipe I’m going to give you has sausage and shrimp with vegetables but you can really add anything. So without further adieu, here’s the recipe.

Cajun Sausage and Shrimp Risotto

  • 1 C arborio rice
  • 2-3 T butter or oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C homemade shrimp broth
  • 1 1/2 C white wine
  • 1 lb andouille sausage
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, uncooked, heads, and shells removed and deveined
  • 8 oz mushrooms (I used creminis, but use whatever you want)
  • 1 bundle of asparagus (around 20 stalks)
  • 1 C cheese (I used about half mozzarella and half Romano, but you could use parmesan, too)
  • Salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning to taste

The first thing you need to do is prepare and cook your shrimp. You might have to take off the shells and devein them yourself. (You don’t have to devein them, but I recommend it because the vein is not a vein, it’s the shrimp GI tract… just sayin’) When your preparing them, SAVE the shells. You want them for your broth. Once the shrimp are ready, boil them in salted water until they turn white. They cook really, really fast, so don’t walk away. After they’re cooked, remove the shrimp from the water and add the shells. I had some extra mushrooms in my fridge that were a few days old and I had a bay leaf, so I threw them in there, too. Leave this to simmer for a while, maybe 10-20 minutes. Strain the shells and vegetables out and that’s your broth.

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My broth in the making

While your broth is simmering, it’s a good time to cook your vegetables. Slice the mushrooms and chop the asparagus into thirds. Sauté them in oil and cook until the mushrooms are soft and the asparagus is bright green.

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Next, slice the sausage in about 1/4″ slices and sauté them in a skillet until they are browned on both sides. This smells WONDERFUL!

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Warning: this will make you house smell so good.

Now to the risotto:

While the sausage is cooking, melt the butter with the garlic and onion in a medium sized stock pot over medium heat. Once the onions start to cook, add the rice and stir to coat the rice in the butter and oil. You don’t want to cook the rice, just get it coated and stir for a few minutes. Mix the wine and the stock together and add a cup of the liquid to the rice.

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the rice will still be white when you’re ready to add the liquid

Stir until the liquid is absorbed and add another cup. Stir, and when that cup is absorbed, add the last cup. I forgot to add the liquid one cup at a time and it still worked out fine, I just had to add more liquid later. Add the meat with the last cup of liquid so that the flavors will mix. Once the liquid is absorbed, add the vegetables and the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the vegetables are mixed in.

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The final product

Now you’re ready to serve, eat, and enjoy! This makes a lot, so you might need to invite some people over, or freeze it. Now that you know how to make risotto, add whatever you want: italian sausage, chicken, sundried tomatoes, green peas, whatever!

And, again, I do promise to someday teach you haw to make some delicious Honduran cuisine. AND, maybe next time I post will not be the day of a test and I’ll have stuff to talk about other than just eating food. Even though the list of things I like to talk about more than food is pretty short…

Until then,

Griffin

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