Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tomato and 'Sausage' Risotto with Arugula

Risotto and I have a love-hate relationship. I don't make it often, but when I do, the texture is off, I don't cook it long enough (or, I cook it for too long), and it never looks like it does when Ina makes her's (yes, I realize I watch too much Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics).

So, last week, I decided to give risotto another try - and, for some reason, this time it worked (kind of). The rice was an ideal al dente, and everything just looked right (finally!). However, I ended up letting the risotto sit for too long, and the texture got way too thick. Not inedible by any means, but just a little too creamy for my liking. 

Learn from my mistakes: eat this risotto immediately after cooking it, and you won't be disappointed.

Tomato and 'Sausage' Risotto with Arugula
Yields: 4 servings
Adapted from Martha Stewart
-1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice + 3 cups water
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/2 yellow onion, diced
-2 vegetarian sausages, chopped (I used Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage, but I recommend using an Italian sausage)
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-1 cup Arborio rice
-1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 cups arugula, for serving

1.) In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.
2.) In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and sausage; season with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
3.) Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vegetable broth; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.
4.) 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).
5.) Remove pan from heat. Stir in Parmesan and butter; taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), stirring 1/2 cup of arugula into each dish. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

[Print this recipe]

Despite how thick my risotto got, Z and I loved this dish. The addition of the peppery arugula at the end gave the otherwise rich dish a necessary brightness, and the generous bites of sausage throughout made this a very satiating meal.

Have you ever made risotto successfully before? If yes, what are your tips?


  1. I find that leftover risotto that's gone a bit thick and clumpy can be made good again by sticking it back in the pan with an extra dash of water, and once it's all recombined and warmed, it should be back to normal again :)

  2. I LOVE risotto! The key is to just keep stirring, and stand over the pot the entire time, adding the broth bit by bit. Stir, stir, stir! It's easy but time-consuming. Then again, I like my risotto extra-creamy.

    Love the flavor combo with the sausage, tomatoes and arugula. I don't usually "do" veggie sausage, but I just may have to give this one a try.

    1. Thanks for the risotto tips! And yeah, this brand of veg sausage is exceptionally good. I highly recommend it!

  3. Yuuum, I never would have thought to add arugula to risotto! And I am a big fan of the Field Roast sausages as an occasional treat to jazz up breakfast or other dishes. Will definitely be making this soon. I like to not let all of the liquid absorb up at the end so that it isn't too thick.

    1. The Field Roast Sausages are so good. Glad to hear you like them, too!

  4. definitely best fresh, but... why not make arancini? :)

    1. I do love arancini! Not a bad idea..........

  5. I have never had good luck with risotto. I tend to enjoy ordering it out rather than cooking it!

  6. I love making risotto. The only tip I have is to add the hot liquid in small batches and stir. . . forever.

  7. I love making risotto at home... My version may not be perfect but I just add a bit of liquid at a time until I like the consistency... and then I'll add the other items (shrimp, veggies, etc). But really I'll eat most risottos!

  8. I used to be intimidated by risotto as well, but I just took a risotto class at Dave's Fresh Pasta in Somerville and now I feel like a pro. You should sign up! You'd love it.