Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Wouldn’t you know that making a risotto is the perfect way to have a good think. Add a little liquid, stare off into space, stir, think about what’s on your mind, stir, add a little more liquid and repeat. I’ve found myself with a lot on my mind lately, mostly about work — good, exciting, keeping-me-on-my-toes-things — and earlier this week I got to sort a lot of that out while I stared off into space, stirring my risotto.

You may recall my original hesitation to make a risotto. Now that I’ve gotten over the fear that I will be slaving over a stove for seven hours I find it comforting. Comforting to make and comforting to enjoy — even reheated the next day, over my computer at my desk because all of these keeping-me-on-my-toes-things are also keeping me from the lunch room.

When this little beauty showed up in my RSS feed a couple of days ago I slated it into our menu plans ASAP. Something about the spinach and the tomatoes made it feel summery and fresh. Yet as soon as our apartment was filled with the sounds and aromas of a sizzling, hot Italian sausage on the stove, I knew we’ll enjoy this many times throughout the cooler months.

Now, the original recipe called for two tablespoons of butter to be stirred in at the end. While, much to my mother’s horror, I believe very much in butter, she did leave enough of an impression on me to know that two tablespoons of butter stirred into a risotto just after half a cup of Parmesan has just been stirred into that very same risotto is a little bit outrageous. At least for a Monday night. So I only put about one tablespoon in, give or take as I eye-balled it.  I will let you use your own butter judgment.

Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Dinner Tonight Blog
Serves 4


1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 tablespoons butter


1. In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer and keep warm over low heat on the element.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.

4. Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).

5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan and serve immediately.

Edamame Risotto

Edamame Risotto

Risotto reminds me of my brother’s dog, Ruby. She’s a Rottweiler-Shepherd mix and at first glance she looks like she’s going to eat your face. But if you just give her a little love, she’s like putty in your hands. That, friends, is precisely what a risotto is like.

Risotto was pretty close to the top of my “things I want to make but kind of scare me” list.  All that stirring!  For all my life — okay, since I was 23 and took a notion to make risotto in my tiny, attic kitchen — I have been made to think that this delectable little Italian specialty was too difficult for a lowly home cook like me.  So when this recipe caught my eye about a year ago, I pulled it out and put in the drawer with all the other risotto recipes I haven’t tried.

Now that Jeff isn’t working nights, dinner is fun again!  When I pulled out this recipe (and had bought all the ingredients) I kept trying to think up reasons why I shouldn’t make it.  All that stirring!  But then I had a teeny, tiny epiphany; I made bread.  And bread was at the top of that scary list.  So if I can make bread, THE STAFF OF LIFE, there is no reason I can’t make a pot of risotto.

And I did.  And let me tell you, all that stirring?  Totally worth it.

Edamame Risotto
Adapted from Real Simple
Serves 4


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, thawed (one 454g package will yield about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


1. Heath the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add th eonion and cook for four minutes.

2. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed.

3. Stire in the broth, 3/4 cup at a time, stirring occasionally. Wait until each addition of broth is absorbed before adding the next. it should take about 25 minutes for all the brother to be absorbed.

4. When the broth is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the edamame, lemon zest, tarragon, 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

5. Serve and top with the remaining Parmesan.