During a recent cooking class with Phillis Carey, she began the introduction to this dish by saying that this is one of her very favorite dishes. And that she makes it very frequently for herself and has never tired of the combination of flavors. I scribbled notes on my recipe in a hurry there – I always listen closely when Phillis tells us it’s a favorite of hers because I’ve never not liked any of her favorites. And she mentioned that yes, making risotto is a bit of a nuisance, what with all that constant stirring for 30-35 minutes. But she assured us that we’d be glad when we tasted it. And indeed we were. We heard “mmmmm” all around the classroom. My mmmm included! I nearly licked the plate. For risotto. It was so gosh-darned delicious.
It’s a traditional risotto in how it’s made – nothing different about the preparation or the stirring, or keeping the chicken stock hot. It was the combination of the sausage, the leeks, the corn. And the prettiness of the added spinach. And the red of the tomatoes. Well, just all of it.
I made the dish a few nights later, as I said, with the identical ingredients (except I used pork Italian sausage) and my DH and I nearly licked the plate. Don’t skimp on the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Or the butter – that’s an important addition at the end. Do use fresh, baby spinach too. If you have some fresh basil, sprinkle a bit of that on top as you serve it.
So, how’d we like it? Well, I’d had it at the cooking class, so I knew I’d enjoy it. My DH was so busy eating it he couldn’t even look up to say anything. Meaning that he loved it. We both did. It did take about 45 minutes to make, but I didn’t have to stir it every second. I was close by to stir it around every 30 seconds or so and add more broth as I chopped up the tomatoes, cut the fresh corn off the cob. I made it last week for our friends in Colorado too, and they both thought it was delicious.
What I liked: I loved it all. The texture of the arborio rice – it came out perfectly. The sausage added some great taste, but wasn’t overwhelming. The color with the spinach and tomatoes. The cheese. Oh goodness yes, it was all good. And this is now going onto my “favorites” list if that’s any indication of how delicious it is!
What I didn’t like: well, I suppose the stirring gets a little tedious, but that’s it.
Risotto with Turkey Sausage, Corn, Leeks, Spinach and Tomatoes
Recipe By: From a cooking class with Phillis Carey, 6/2011
Serving Size: 4 (I think it will serve 5)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil — divided use
1/2 pound turkey Italian sausage — (or use pork Italian sausage, if preferred)
2 cloves garlic — minced
3/4 cup dry white wine — like Sauvignon Blanc (not vermouth), divided use
1 1/2 cups leeks — cleaned, chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup fresh corn — trimmed from the cob
6 ounces baby spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese — grated
3/4 cup plum tomatoes — seeded, diced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley — chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil — sliced
1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over high heat. Lower heat and keep the broth hot.
2. Heat 1 T. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and garlic. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Add 1/4 cup wine to the sausage and simmer until the wine evaporates.
3. Heat remaining 2 T. oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven (Phillis suggests Le Creuset cast iron pots are the best for making risotto). Add the cleaned and dried leeks and cook for 6-8 minutes until they are softened. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until it turns white, but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated.
4. Add a cup of broth to the rice and cook, stirring constantly, lowering heat to just a simmer, until rice absorbs all the broth. Stir in another cup of broth and stir until absorbed. Continue adding broth and stirring until rice is just tender, about 20 more minutes.
5. Stir in the corn and sausage and then add the spinach by handfuls, cooking until wilted; season to taste with salt and pepper. Do not let the rice cook until it’s dry – add small amounts of broth (or water if you run out) even up until the end. Stir in the butter and Parmesan and stir until melted. Stir in tomatoes, parsley and basil and serve immediately with additional Parmesan to sprinkle on top, if desired.
Per Serving: 767 Calories; 35g Fat (39.7% calories from fat); 45g Protein; 75g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 88mg Cholesterol; 180mg Sodium.