Risotto with Sausage, Mushrooms, & Mint

October 22 is always a special day for us - it's our wedding anniversary. Today, Brian and I celebrate three years of marriage (!). What's so special about year number three? Well, according to a study out of the UK, the third year marks the point when "couples begin to settle into a comfortable co-existence, having come to terms with each other's imperfections." Hmm...I guess you could call it that. :)

While we aren't planning on doing any of the traditional (leather) or modern (crystal) gifts for the third year, we are planning on getting a yummy meal out on the town. And how lucky are we that Richmond Restaurant Week falls over our anniversary? We'll be eating French fare at Bistro Bobette in Shockoe Slip tonight. We've never been and can't wait.

Speaking of Europe, when we were there last year for our anniversary, Brian ordered an amazing risotto dish in Rome - complete with sausage, mushroom, and mint. It was rich, savory, and perfect for a special occasion, so we recreated a couple nights ago as an "early" anniversary dinner. You can celebrate more than once, right?

Without further adieu, here's our Anniversary Risotto: a fancy, homemade meal fit for any married or unmarried couple, complete with Italian sausage, mushrooms, peas, and fresh mint.

The secret to making risotto is to cook it slowly, stirring frequently (pretend carpal tunnel is a good thing) and adding as much liquid as the rice requires. Try to have the ingredients prepped and ready in advance. If you've made risotto before, you know you need to devote your undivided attention to cooking the rice; and you also know that it'll be worth it.

In my opinion, the flavor is best when the risotto has been made carefully (and of course, with love), topped with cheese, and served directly from the stove. Do all of this, and you'll be very satisfied.

Yummm. Happy anniversary to us!

P.S. - there's more risotto here (but with lemon and seafood).

Risotto with Sausage, Mushrooms, & Mint

  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage, ground 
  • 1/2 lb. white button mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced 
  • 2 cups medium-grain rice, such as Arborio
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 1/2 cup shelled peas, frozen
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish

1. Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring just to a simmer.

2. Separately, in a large saucepan or risotto pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to break up the lumps, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 

4. Add the mushrooms and cook often, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. 

5. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the kernels are hot and coated with oil, about 2 minutes. 

6. Add the wine and continue to cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed.

7. Add the stock from the saucepan 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and making sure the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. When the rice is about half cooked, stir in the peas and season with salt and pepper. The risotto is done when the rice grains are creamy on the outside and firm yet tender to the bite, 20 to 25 minutes total.

8. Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the cheese. Serve immediately.


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