Friday, May 11, 2012

Baked Risotto with European Sausage and Mixed Vegetables

Adapted from Healthy Delicious.

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6 links European sausages
4 c. Fresh vegetable mix, chopped (2 onions, 1/2 red pepper, 1/4 cauliflower head, 6-8 mushrooms)
1 1/2 c. Arborio Rice
1 c. White Wine
5 c. Chicken stock, low sodium
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
3 c. Spinach, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Remove the casing from 3 sausages and cook the meat on a large frying pan.  Break up any large pieces and continue to cook until the sausages start to brown.

Add the vegetables and cook for a few more minutes.

Stir in the rice and cook until the grains start to become translucent and white in the center, about 1-2 minute.

Pour in the white wine, stir and cook until the wine evaporates.  Stirring often to ensure even cooking.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a boil.

Once the wine has evaporated, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil again.

Preheat a large casserole dish by placing it in the oven 5 minute before using it.

Carefully transfer the risotto/vegetable mix into the preheated casserole dish and cover it.  Place the risotto in the oven for 30 min; the liquids in the casserole dish should be bubbling.

Stir in the parmesan cheese and sprinkle the chopped spinach on top.  Cover and return to the oven for another 10-15 min, until all the liquids are absorbed.

While the risotto is in the oven, cook the remaining 3 sausages on the stove top and cut each sausage into two.

Serve the risotto with the cooked sausage.


My comments:

We are big risotto fans here at my house. Unfortunately, I am the only one who makes them and I hate slaving over the stove for 30 min while I stir the risotto to make the darn thing starchy and creamy. So I couldn't be more delighted when I saw you can make risotto in the oven!!!

For those of you who are risotto connoisseurs, you'll find that this baked risotto is not as creamy as a risotto should be when it is properly prepared. However, I lack the patience at the stovetop, so my risottos are never authentic. This baked risotto recipe offered me an easy solution to making good risotto without slaving over the stove for 30 min.

The stirring process releases the starch in the Arborio rice which gives the risotto its creaminess. In a baked risotto, it's the bubbling process in the oven that brings out the starch from the rice. Therefore, the dutch oven is a great tool for making baked risotto because you can transfer the bubbling liquids from the stovetop into the oven without losing heat. I don't have a dutch oven, although I'd absolutely love one. So I made do with my casserole dish by preheating it in the oven first, then pour the risotto bubbling in chicken stock into the dish, cover and quickly transfer into the oven. I baked the risotto for an extra 5-10 min since it took a little longer for the liquid to reach the bubbling stage once it was transferred into the casserole dish.

The risotto came out beautifully. It was flavourful and creamy! My family loved it. I also hid a lot of chopped vegetables in the dish to ensure the kids are getting some fiber in their meal. All in all, this recipe was a huge success and I will most definitely make it again.

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