Sunday, January 8, 2012

Risotto with Artichokes and Italian Sausage

Are you one of those people who mixes their food about on the plate?  You know what I mean, right?  My husband, for example, will take a perfectly puffy, buttery, golden and flaky chicken pot pie and mix that wonderful crust right into the filling while I sit back and watch in horror.  He'll mix the hell out of the pot pie until it all looks beige on the plate.  Me, on the other hand, I like to spoon a bit of the perfectly golden and flaky crust right into the filing and take what I consider to be the perfect bite.  To me this is what good eating is all about, the contrast of taste and texture.  

Now I could go on and on citing different examples, but I'll save you from all that.  Let's just say that food mixing drives me crazy.  You don't mix up an ice cream sundae.  You don't mix the toppings on top of your soup into the soup.   Or maybe you do.  I don't know.  I guess we all deserve to eat and enjoy our food the way we wish.  I just wish I didn't have to witness the food mixing.  It makes me cringe.

This recipe for risotto with artichokes and sausage is a perfect example on food mixing.  The author calls for you to cook the risotto along with the artichokes and sausage, all mixed in together.  When I first glanced at the name of this dish I envisioned a gorgeous serving of risotto with the artichokes and crispy bits of caramelized sausage sitting on top.  I just couldn't bring myself to lose the crispy caramelized bits on the sausage so I changed the recipe to suit my tastes.  I sauteed my sausage and artichokes until golden and then set them aside so that I could top the risotto with them later.   
Either way, I have a feeling that you really can't go wrong on this recipe.  It is super fantastic!  Definitely worth repeating.  The only thing that could make this risotto any better would be the addition of a little mascarpone into the risotto at the end. 
Risotto with Artichokes & Italian Sausage
Adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros
Serves 4
Tessa says, " It is simple to throw together a broth - just put some water on to boil with a carrot and onion, celery, and peppercorns.  Add a bit more water than the recipe calls for and boil it for at least half an hour.  A broth adds depth to a risotto; however, you can also use water."

juice of half a lemon
2 artichokes
4 - 6 cups hot veggie or chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 teaspoon
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 by 3 oz. Italian sausages, skin removed and meat crumbled
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
a couple of thyme or tarragon sprigs or sage
1-1/4 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

Fill a bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice.  Trim the artichokes of their tough outer leaves.  Chop off about a third of the top spear.  Cut off the stem, leaving about 1 inch.  Trim away the dark outer stem.  Cut the artichokes in half vertically and scrape out the chokes.  Slice each one into 8 or 9 thin slices and put them in the lemon water.  Alternatively, buy a can of artichokes or one 10 oz. bag of frozen artichokes.  If frozen, allow them to come to room temperature.  If you are buying canned or frozen artichokes there is no need to clean them or add them to the lemon water. 

Put the veggie broth or water in a saucepan, cover, and bring to a simmer.  Keep at the simmering point while you make the risotto.
Heat the olive oil with the teaspoon of butter in a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan or a skillet with high sides.  Saute the onion until golden and then add the crumbled sausage.  Continue cooking until golden, stirring often so it doesn't stick.  Once the sausage is golden deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup red wine, if using.  Allow the wine to evaporate.  This will take about 1 minute.  Add the garlic, drained artichokes, and the sprigs of thyme or tarragon.  Saute until the artichokes are slightly softened and lightly golden.  (The recipe calls for leaving the sausage and artichokes in the pan while you cook the risotto.  I chose to remove the sausage and artichokes and set it aside so I could top the risotto with it).  

Add the rice to the pan, stir well, and season with salt and pepper.  Add about 1 cup of the hot broth or water; decrease the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until almost all the liquid has evaporated.  Add more liquid and continue cooking, stirring regularly and adding more liquid as it is absorbed, for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  The risotto should still have some liquid and the rice grains should be firm yet soft and creamy.  Stir in the butter and cheese and serve immediately with extra Parmesan.  (If you set the sausage and artichokes aside as I did, gently reheat them in a pan.  Place the risotto in a large serving dish and top the risotto with the crumbled sausage and artichokes).  

Beautiful chunks of caramelized sausage.  Sure would be a shame to mix those bits into the risotto and loose that texture.

Theme: Under The Tuscan Sun

So tell me.  Do you like to mix your food?


  1. I think you're right, there is definitely something gained by browning the sausage for that crispy crust that you wouldnt have gotten if you'd cooked it all together.

  2. This looks so good, Kim! I have it on my maybe list. Now I'm bumping it to "have to try."
    You sound like my mom. My dad will take his entire plate of food and mix it all together. My mom is borderline needing a divided plate--she hates her foods touching. It's a comedy act while you eat! Me...depends on what I'm eating, but I lean more towards your "perfect bite" theory.

  3. Oh my gosh, I just want to dive into the sausage and artichokes alone! I feel that way about somethings and not about others. I do agree with wanting to brown up that sausage on its lonesome. Look great! I do, however, like to pile peas on my mashed potatoes and then mix them...

  4. I agree, I think I like your way better.

  5. I'm a mixer of some things, but not others - pot pie definitely not a mixer. Risotto I would probably mix the sausage and artichoke in, but only right at the end when adding the cheese, etc, and only just enough for it to be just amalgamated.

    I was actually planning to make this dish this week, but it didn't quite work out that way. I want it even more after seeing yours, so I guess it is going to be this week's rice dish :-)

    Sue xo

  6. You have to make it work for you. ;-) It depends on the dish for me, but in the case, keeping the sausage crispy would definitely be a priority. This looks wonderful.

  7. I mix my food...but we have some in the family who need compartments! Ha!

  8. I am the opposite of a mixer so I totally understand. I like different bites of everything and I love the way dishes look with something drizzled or placed on top. I like the idea of the combination of artichokes and sausage! Sounds so yummy.

  9. this had me i a food mixer? i don't think i am, but i remember growing up, my brother would literally make a mountain out of whatever my mom was serving. it drove us all crazy, lol!

    this risotto is GLORIOUS! i haven't had risotto for a long time, but next time i do, i'm making it like this!

  10. I hate mixing food. I don't mind if it touches, but NO MIXING! I want my food to look as good as it tastes. My dad stirs everything together into the center of his plate. It's very hard to watch.

    Your risotto looks gorgeous.

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  12. My kids would mix up their ice cream until it was soft and call it mugga gugga.
    I like to eat it pristine, and still very cold.
    I love your changes! I'll definitely go your route when I try this dish.

  13. Kim, this sounds and looks wonderful. Received my Tessa books Friday so have been reading them all weekend! This one I will have to try!

  14. Maybe on could stir in half of the sausage and artichoke for flavour and leave the rest sit on top for texture.

  15. My mom always makes fun of me for mixing everything together on my plate. Lol. But man, does this look mouth-watering! Kudos!

    By the way, I have family in Georgetown, KY. It's a nice town!

  16. I like this. And I like your way.. . all browned and welcoming. The combination is a beauty. Husband mixes everything. Daughter won't let stuff on the plate touch. It all works.

  17. this sounds really good...and probably makes everyone (food mixer or not) at the table happy :)

  18. Its not often you can say a cooking site is original, but I am saying this to you thanks for a great site.

  19. I'm on the fence for mixing, it really depends on the foods. Your sausage and artichokes look to fabulous to get lost in all the rice.

  20. I also hate when people mix everything on there plate, It just looks I try and get a little bite of everything in a fork full. Since sausage is my favorite food in the world...You have made me a happy man...I just found 3 recipes I want to try!

  21. I know what you mean, my hubby does the food mixing too and it drives me crazy!!

  22. Looks good but I have to say I am a mixer. I love the way the different foods go together

  23. I'm a new visitor, but I have to tell you, your recipes sound delicious! I've only tried risotto once before - and it was a complete flop - but this might just get me to take another crack at it :)

  24. What is that pot, and why is it so awesome?

    That said, not only do I usually not mix my food on the plate, but I am very careful to take constructed bites of things on the plate. For example, a steak with awesome glaze and some roasted things with potatoe. Pile a small bit of each on the fork, and have at it!

    Especially when I'm eating out, (which we're trying not to do: see blog) I feel if the cook/chef/Julia has made all the things on the plate to go together, I should eat them all together.

  25. It would drive me crazy too. Wouldn't the chef in all of us get a little offended? But then again if he views this way of eating as delicious, then I can't argue with that because it is a matter taste.

    I agree with your method of browning the sausages separately. Not only do they get nice and crisp, but I think more flavor can be extracted from the browning.

  26. Looks tasty and nicely done! I don't mix either. You know that rice recipe I have on the blog for IHCC this week? That spinach went in at the end, not the beginning...I just couldn't bring myself to do it the other I probably should have confessed. Great choice for rice week here!


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