What can I say but yum! Risotto is the Italian rice dish that is true comfort food. Risotto can be made with so many flavors and additions that the possibilities are endless for enjoying this traditional dish.

My first bit of research with Italian rice said that all Italian rice is cooked without a lid. That didn’t make any sense to me since all the rice directions I have read say to cover the pot and let simmer for the 20 or so minutes it takes to cook.

Well then I realized that rice equals risotto in Italian cooking. Risotto is about cooking without the lid on because you continually add in the liquid as it cooks. This is a process but like all good foods it’s worth it. Risotto is usually made with arborio rice, stock and Parmesan cheese. The rice is toasted in a little olive oil then you start adding your warm or hot stock, one cup at a time, and let that simmer and absorb into the rice. At the very end you add in the cheese and a few seasonings if you like and there you go- comfort food.

But I can never leave well enough alone. I have to add something to most of my dishes to tweak them a bit. I wanted to make tonight’s dinner a one dish meal and something hearty using Italian sweet sausage and the arborio rice I bought last week. So I went in search of a recipe since I am not that familar with making risotto as of yet. I found a great recipe at Chef Chuck’s Cucina and took from there. His recipe called for hot Italian sausage and red pepper and beef stock. I was missing the beef stock and red pepper so I improvised with what I had on hand. I used the sweet sausage and some mushrooms and chicken stock. It turned out wonderful! Very filling and comforting on a cold winter’s night here in Ohio. So here is Chuck’s recipe:

Salsiccia e Peperoni Risotto

Sausage and red pepper risotto, is a supreme comfort food on a chilly evening. Pull up a chair and sit for 20-25 minutes to make this meal in one pan. Risotto needs your constant attention to achieve a creamy smooth consistency. The wait is well worth it.

Sausage and Red Pepper Risotto

1 cup arborio rice
3 hot Italian sausage links
4 cups beef broth
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cut open the sausage to remove the meat, in a large frying pan heat olive oil and butter add onions and peppers for about 3 minutes. Add sausage and brown the meat. If needed add a little olive oil then add rice and toast for 2 minutes, stirring. Slowly add broth a little at a time till all is absorbed, add oregano. Sprinkle the cheese over the risotto and salt and pepper to taste.

Here is a picture, a poor one, of my version.

My photographers were all very busy playing their computer games so I was on my own and forgot to take pictures. If anyone really wants a tutorial, I will be happy to make risotto again and take lots of pictures. Just leave a comment asking me to do that for you. But Chuck has a nice photo of his finished dish on his blog. Be sure to drop by and visit him as well and let him know you found him through me.