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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

Eggs “Florentine”

Having spent the first week of December on holiday, eating buffet (and dessert) three times a day, I was ready to give up decadence before the holidays were even in full swing.  Not wanting to be a party pooper, I soldiered on and ate my way through Christmas, the week after Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

For New Year’s Day, even though it was just me and my partner, I wanted a brunch that seemed nice enough for a holiday but didn’t involve bacon, heavy cream or half a loaf of bread.  Browsing through a list of “light” brunch recipes, I knew I had hit the nail on the head when I came across Easy Eggs Florentine.

Aside: yeah, this is the second Martha recipe I’ve posted in a row, purely a coincidence.

Eggs, in my mind, are the world’s most perfect food.  I love ‘em just about any way they come, especially poached.  Much to my chagrin, however, I can’t poach an egg to save my life.  I fast fried the eggs so the whites were set but the yokes were still soft.  The goat cheese stirred in to the spinach gave this dish a subtle richness that didn’t leave us feeling heavy after brunch.

Certainly a wonderful way to start a new year.

Banana Bread

I have the best of intentions when it comes to bananas.  I buy them every week, intending to enjoy them chopped over cereal or in between a gooey peanut butter sandwich, yet I never seem to get around to the bananas and they end up wilted and black in the fruit basket.

At the end of the week I throw them in the freezer with the best of intentions to make banana-based baked goods.  The bananas usually resurface in loaf form.  I like it cold with a thick layer of salted butter spread on top.

After much experimentation, I like Martha Stewart’s recipe best.  The cup of sour cream keeps it moist for upwards of a week, not that the banana bread sticks around that long.  Somehow, I don’t seem to have any trouble going through a loaf in a couple of days.

Martha Stewart’s Banana Bread