I had half a container of risotto rice hanging out in my pantry from the last time I made risotto which was probably last year sometime, so I decided to give this recipe a try. I love risotto but tend to avoid making it because the half an hour of constant stirring is tough when you also have kids that demand constant attention. Other than all the stirring, it is actually a very easy recipe though.
This risotto is very rich and flavorful. My kids are big fans of rice, pasta and all things creamy and cheesy so they loved this. The review from my one year old was short and sweet: "Yummy". I also thought it was fancy enough to serve at an adult diner party. I followed the original recipe closely, except I used homemade chicken stock and increased the amount of mushrooms and cheese (we love our cheese). I used very thinly sliced pancetta, which I was afraid might get too crispy, but it melted into the rice wonderfully and flavored the entire dish.
adapted slightly from Giada De Laurentiis, Giada's Family Dinners
5 cups chicken broth (store bought or homemade)
2 tablespoons butter
3 ounces pancetta (or substitute bacon), chopped
1 link (about 6 ounces) spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over low heat.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sausage and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and saute until tender, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup (a ladle full) of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.