Winter is here….and it’s a cold one, even here in sunny Brisbane. Whilst we are not freezing ourselves like our friends down south in Victoria and Tasmania, we’re still experiencing single digit temperatures overnight and craving comfort foods like slow cooked meat, pasta and risotto.
Risotto is particularly a favourite of mine, which I really don’t make often enough. It doesn’t have to be loaded with too many ingredients, and lends itself to subtle flavours rather than the bang you get from something like a curry. It warms you on the outside as you spend the time stirring it to life, and warms you from the inside as you eat it. Not the quickest of meals to make, but one that I find rewarding and best homemade, relying on good quality ingredients (as should all food) and love and attention to create it at its best.
The source of my inspiration for this dish was some delicious Sicilian sausages that I got from my local butcher, Barrow Lane. Pork and Fennel, cooked up on their own the flavours instantly kick started my imagination of all the meals I could create with them. Juicy and flavourful just on their own they would be equally at home on a summer barbeque as they are in this delicious risotto.
Barrow Lane supplied the sausages for this recipe, but all opinions and the recipe are my own.
Sicilian Sausage and Orange Risotto
makes 4 generous serves
- 4 Sicilian sausages (fennel and pork)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (approx 1 cup)
- 1 small-medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (approx 1 cup)
- 4 cups (1L) chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups Aborio rice
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- zest of 2 oranges
- 2 tbl sp olive oil
- 1 tbl sp verjuice or white wine
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- fennel seeds to serve (optional)
Prepare all of your ingredients before beginning to cook.
Cook the sausages until starting to brown and remove from the heat. Slice when cool enough to touch and set to the side.
In a medium saucepan pour your chicken stock and put on the stove over a low heat. You don’t want it to boil or simmer, just warm gently.
Preheat a large saucepan and then add the olive oil, rice, carrot and sweet potato. Cook gently over a medium-low heat until the rice starts to go translucent. At this point add the wine/verjuice and stir.
Now slowly add the stock to the rice and vegetables, a ladle full at a time, stirring well and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding the next one. Keep stirring your mixture regularly to ensure that all of the rice is cooking evenly and absorbing liquid. You don’t need to be relentless but don’t allow it to sit too long and stick to the bottom of the pot. Towards the end you will be able to add a little bit more liquid at a time but don’t rush it.
When you add in the last of the liquid add in the sausage and cook for another minute or two and then remove the rice from the heat. The risotto should look creamy and the rice should still be firm, but not crunchy. If you don’t think its reached this stage, add another ladle full of water and continue cooking until it reaches the right texture. At this stage season your risotto well and add in the cheese and orange zest.
Serve immediately whilst warm. Particularly delicious with some chopped smoked almonds.
The risotto can be frozen and reheated but you may find it looses some of the fresh orange flavour.
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