As much as I would like to, I can't take credit for this delicious risotto recipe. No, that accolade needs to go to Heck Sausages. However, I found the recipe because it was featured on lovefood.com
with credit going to Heck - so I suppose this is the great-grand daughter recipe recommendation, if you like! I have changed the recipe a tiny bit, but it's only re-organising the order of play and not changing the ingredients. Now I could have just placed the link here and not bothered to reproduce the recipe, but I have learned that sometimes favourite recipes disappear from the internet never to be found again - so I'm immortalising it here for future reference.
If you're still with me after such a meandering explanation, well done. LOL
It has been ages since I made a risotto. Hubby is ordinarily the risotto chef in our house - and he does a cracking job at it too. However, he was otherwise engaged so I decided to give it a go. I'd made some good risottos in the past, so my track record wasn't bad.
For all that it is currently autumn - and a good time for risotto - I have to say that this recipe would be very much at home in a springtime capacity.
The addition of the courgette and petit pois, with the light touch of the chicken sausages, definitely made us think of the relief of coming out of the heaviness of winter and into a relatively lighter menu, as spring comes around. However, as all the ingredients aren't reliant upon seasonal produce (although, again, it is the perfect time for young courgettes), you can enjoy its fresh tasting loveliness at any time of the year.
As with all risottos, they live or die on the quality of the stock you are using. So at this point I have to blow my Essential Cuisine trumpet once again. I used 75% Essential Cuisine chicken stock and 25% Essential Cuisine vegetable stock for this risotto and it was fantastic. The very best part of the Essential Cuisine stable of stocks is their wonderfully intense flavours, however, because they are a stock powder (and they have a new range of liquid stocks, too) it is so simple to just increase the intensity by adding another half a teaspoonful as required. For a risotto stock, this works perfectly. So - I recommend them. 'Nuff said.
As for Cook's Tips, I have two :
Firstly, I wasn't looking forward to the unzipping the sausages and separating the sausagemeat into individual little meatballs. It's a gacky thing to have to do, even if you baste your hands liberally with cold water so that the sausagemeat doesn't stick. Then, I had this brilliant idea. I unzipped each sausage from its skin, ran my chef's knife under the cold water and chopped each sausage into five pieces. It worked, too! You have to wet the knife in between each sausage, but it is SO much more of a pleasant way to do it.
Lastly, if you're wondering what pan to use to cook the risotto in, well I used our new wok. It's quite compact, with high walls and fits nicely onto each burner so there are no cold spots to contend with. So if, like me, you were worried about the rice catching on the bottom of your pan and/or can't see in to the top of a tall pan (alright, so I'm short and most unhelpfully, have to sit to cook), consider using a wok. It worked absolutely perfectly for me.
So, without further ado, here's your recipe :
CHICKEN SAUSAGE, PEA & COURGETTE RISOTTO (serves 3-4)
1-2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
8 chicken sausages (Heck or Asda are our favourites), skinned and each sausage formed into 5 small meatballs
450g approx of courgettes, cut into half centimetre dice
1 sweet onion, diced small
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
125g Arborio risotto rice
pinch of sea salt
quarter of a tsp ground black pepper
1 litre of good quality hot chicken stock, or chicken/vegetable combined
half a tsp of ground nutmeg
1 heaped tsp of Dijon mustard
300g defrosted petit pois (peas)
1 handful basil leaves (I used Thai basil as we prefer it)
grated Grana Padano, Parmesan or Manchego cheese to garnish.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and once heated, add the sausagemeat balls. Fry on a medium/hot heat until deeply golden on at least three sides, then remove from the pan into a bowl and reserve.
In the meantime, make up the stock in another saucepan and place on the heat to simmer. Just before you are due to add the peas to the risotto, give them a few minutes in the stock pan to take the rawness off of them and heat them up.
Leaving the sausage flavoured fat in the pan, add the chopped courgettes and fry until just beginning to soften and take on colour. Remove from the pan to the same bowl as the sausage balls and reserve.
Decant what little fat is left into a high sided saucepan or wok and add a little more oil if necessary. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and fry over a medium/hot heat until softened and transparent. Add the sea salt and black pepper and stir through.
Increase the heat under the pan to maximum and add the dry rice. Stir well, to cover the rice in the flavoured oil and cook until you can see the rice is beginning to toast. Add a ladleful of the stock and stir well, to release the starch from the rice. Add the nutmeg and Dijon mustard and stir in. Once the stock has all but disappeared, pour in another ladleful and stir consistently - it is the stirring that ensures you wind up with a creamy texture to your risotto. Once the pan is again almost dry, repeat with another ladleful of stock and continue this way until the rice is very nearly cooked through. You may find that you have a little too much stock, or you may need to add a little boiling water as your last ladleful - it all depends on how much you stir and how starchy your rice is.
Add the petit pois along with your last ladleful of stock and stir through, then add the courgette/meatball combination and stir through. Make sure to bring the pan contents to piping hot and add the torn basil.
Serve immediately, on warmed plates and with grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese as garnish.