I don’t know what it is about risotto, but it is one meal that keeps me coming back for more.
Maybe it is because it is a classic Italian dish or because its creamy texture is divine. Or maybe it is because any dish that includes wine has to be a winner. Whatever the reason, risotto is a dish that pops up on our meal board often.
To be honest, risotto was a meal that scared me at first because it seems like a dish that only the greatest chefs create and share in top restaurants. So when I said I wanted to cook risotto what I really meant was I want to eat risotto. But after my first attempt I quickly realized that cooking risotto is not as daunting of a task as I initially thought. The worst thing that happened was that I had to read my recipe over and over a million times to be sure that I didn’t mess up. And, I had a little bit of stress about how much stirring and manning the pot I needed to do with the rice that needs a lot of TLC. But, no burnt house and no heart attack to report.
Now that I am more comfortable with cooking risotto I am always on the lookout for inspired recipes to spice up my norm. A few weeks back we took a trip to our hometown of Colorado and one of the most important pit-stops we had to make while were in town was to our favorite Italian restaurant Bacco Trattoria. (If you live in or visit Colorado make a stop at Bacco! It is homey and truly fabulous Italian food). Since we had last been there the menu had changed a bit and one of the new additions was a red wine risotto with sausage and gorgonzola cheese. I had my heart set on my go-to meal since it had been nearly a year since I had dined there, but convinced my husband to try the new dish. And oh.my.god. true food heaven. I immediately knew that it was my mission to recreate this risotto meal in my home.
I never thought I would receive a 5-star rating from Food Network for mastering arborio rice, but this recipe is so good that I might submit myself and get the blue ribbon. Or, just share it with all of you for Meal Share Monday and hope you all give me a pat on the back or maybe a chef high-five. Please?
Here is what you need for your red wine risotto masterpiece:
Red Wine Risotto Ingredients
(Serves 4 to 6)
2 tablespoon olive oil, split
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup of white onion, chopped
3 cups of sliced mushrooms (I used baby bella)
4 ounces of gruyere cheese, cut into small slices
3 links of chicken or turkey sausage
1 ¼ cup of arborio rice
1 cup of your favorite red wine
4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (veggie broth is a great substitute)
A few handfuls of spinach
1 cup (or so) of grape tomatoes, halved
1 ½ tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Shredded parmesan cheese for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
Put your Chef Hat On
Start by getting your chicken sausage on the grill (or Foreman!). While the sausage is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic and onions and let them cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly caramelized.
Add rice to the mixture and stir constantly for 3 to 4 minutes until the rice has a “toasted” look. Add the wine and stir every few minutes until the wine is absorbed. Once absorbed, stir in 1 cup of stock stirring until absorbed like you did with the wine. Repeat this step until all the stock has been added and absorbed. This will take several minutes. I do not stir constantly, but keep an eye on the skillet and stir every so often. Taste the rice to determine if they are cooked to your liking. If not, continue to add more stock into the dish.
Reduce the heat to low and add in the salt, pepper and cheese. Add in your cooked and sliced chicken sausage. Stir and let melt. While the cheese is melting use a small sauté pan to heat up your spinach and tomatoes. On medium heat sauté the spinach, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Top the mix with a pinch of S & P.
You will want to go back for seconds of this dish. Promise. And moms don’t worry…the dish is slightly red but doesn’t taste like wine at all so the kids will love this spruced up risotto dish.
I love how versatile arborio rice is. Any vegetable can fit right in and it pairs amazingly no matter what cheese you choose to use. It is definitely one of the most adaptable meals that I know of which means on fridge dump day, a risotto recipe is my hero when you want to use up the last of the produce.
Risotto is a dish that shows immense love. Don’t you think?
Speaking of things I love…I found out today that Bite Size Wellness was approved to be part of the Fitfluential family! I’m overly thrilled to be a part of this awesome bunch of like-minded people. Can’t wait to connect with more Fitfluential Ambassadors.
What is your favorite way to eat risotto? Are you excited to try this Meal Share Monday?
Arborio rice photo via