Do you ever have an exceptionally good night at home? Luckily, I do! Some of my favorite times have been at home with David, drinking a glass of beer or wine, while cooking a delicious meal. That was what tonight was. We enjoyed a great cab, and we talked about how during the week when I cook, I'm not that relaxed. Cooking during the week is such a rush. I usually get home from work, try to jam in some sort of exercise, and then get dinner on the table around 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. I'd eat later in the night if I could, but keep in mind, I'm usually starving around 5:00 when I walk in the door. The faster the better. That's why I consider the weekends when I can cook and relax to be the best.
It's kind of a known fact around these parts that sausage is a family favorite. I try not to buy it too much for health reasons, but when I do, David and I sure celebrate! With a glass of wine in hand I was ready to dig into this meal. I mean what's better than drinking wine with a dinner that was cooked with wine, while enjoying a carb with some more carb? Hmm...sounds well rounded, right? At least I threw in some zucchini. This is one of those dishes that you'll want to make on a weekend with a glass of wine standing by.
Number one rule I've learned for making risotto is...
Drink a glass of wine while cooking.
It makes the time fly by and you'll really enjoy yourself. As I've stated before, risotto is a labor of love, but it's well worth the effort!
Drunken Risotto with Sausage & Spinach
Adapted from Rachael Ray
3 cups dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound bulk Italian sweet sausage
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
salt and pepper
1 bag (5 oz) baby spinach
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1. In a pot, combine wine and stock; keep warm over low heat.
2. In a large pot or saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, crumbling the meat until browned or about 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper. Add a ladle full of warm wine-stock mixture and stir constantly. Once the first ladle full had evaporated add another. Repeat this process of adding a ladle full of liquid at a time until you run out of liquid. This process could take between 20-30 minutes.
3. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in the nutmeg. Stir in the butter and then the cheese.
A good way to tell when you should add the next ladle full of liquid is when you drag your spoon across the pot and the liquid takes a few seconds to come back together.
I've made risotto quite a few times now to know that you can't rush the process. Just relax and try it on a weekend when you're not rushed for time.
I recommend trying this risotto with a cabernet sauvignon.
This recipe is one to share. It's pretty impressive!