I had never made risotto for Joe before this dish. We were discussing things in the kitchen while I was stirring the risotto, and he asked, "A year ago, did you ever think that you would be cooking like this?" I said, "Absolutely not. To me, risotto was something you ordered at a restaurant."
Joe was amazed at how much liquid the grains absorb and how little dry risotto makes four meal-size portions once it is cooked. It's these kind of moments that make me glad that I make my food more often. I appreciate it so much more: the moment when the onion turns clear, the slight browning of garlic, the smell of white wine as it hits the hot pot. It makes the meal so much more satisfying when I finally sit down to eat.
This risotto is relatively quick to prepare (or maybe I've just gotten better since my first time) so it makes for a good weeknight meal. I had already cooked the sausage and used half a pound for another meal, so that saved me a little time as well.
Tomato and Sausage Risotto
source: Everyday Food via Reservations Not Required
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed (I used 1/2 a pound)
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, (10 to 14 ounces), washed well, tough stems removed, chopped (about 7 Cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).
Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.