Image courtesy of Smitten Kitchen, from whom I adapted this gem of a recipe.

Image courtesy of Smitten Kitchen, from whom I adapted this gem of a recipe.

A new favorite of ours — the girls don’t like it so this is a mommy/daddy dinner! It’s hearty enough that it stands as a meal on its own. We’re big risotto fans so this became a favorite very quickly! We like to keep this meal simple: risotto, a nice crusty bread, and the left over wine to top it off. Remarkably, this risotto stands up pretty well as a leftover – something that other risottos struggle with. Let’s get cookin’, shall we?

Here’s the line-up:

  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes (a plus: if your store has the “fire roasted” tomatoes, get it!)
  • 12oz mild Italian sausage (casings removed, if needed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 10 oz fresh spinach – rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a pot bring the chicken broth and the tomatoes — including the water in which they were canned — to just steaming but not boiling. Season the broth with some salt and roughly-cracked pepper and turn heat down to keep it warm.

In a large skillet on medium high heat, cook the sausage a bit, breaking it up into smaller pieces. When it’s mostly cooked, make a space in the pan to add the garlic and cook it for a few seconds. Then add the onion and continue cooking until the sausage is done. Add the rice and cook for approx. 1 minute, stirring occasionally so it won’t burn. (A good sense of when it’s ready is to smell for the “nutty” aroma emanating from the pan.) Add the wine and stir until absorbed completely. Add two or three ladles of the chicken/tomato broth only (don’t add any tomatoes yet) and stir slowly and frequently (and by frequently I do mean “don’t stop!”) Keep this up for about 8 minutes, adding broth when needed. Then ladle the tomatoes with as little broth as possible into the risotto. Carefully add the spinach in batches, stirring them into the gloriously developing risotto magically cooking before your eyes.

When much of the broth is added or when it looks like the risotto is not soaking in broth, test to see if the risotto is done. It should be al dente (firm but not hard.) Add salt and pepper if needed. When the risotto is almost done, add the cheese and stir until it’s creamy. If it’s really “firm” then add a little more broth to loosen it up a bit.

Serve on a large plate with some nice crusty bread and top with some leftover spinach and Parmesan. (I would say to also serve “with wine” but in my experience the rest of the wine is gone by the time I’m done cooking this gold-star dish… Hey, don’t judge me! It can get boring just standing there stirring!)

Bon App├ętit!