Comfort food is such a wonderful idea. Food that seeks to elicit memories of times when you were young, happy, and carefree. Or maybe just food that warms you up after a cold winter day. I think risotto falls into the latter category since I don’t remember my mom making it all that often when I was a kid.
Unfortunately, try as you might, comfort food doesn’t always make you comfortable.
Case in point: Nate threw his back out a few weeks ago. I felt so helpless in this situation. I pride myself on being a great girlfriend and love taking care of people, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to ease his pain. I catered to his every whim (when I was home), bringing him food and water, but nothing could really make him feel better except time.
So, I did the next best thing that I knew how: I cooked.
I wanted to make something easy for him to eat, but delicious. This satisfied on both accounts. And I think it may have made him forget about his back for at least the first few bites
Sausage and Mushroom Risotto
From Bon Appetit (8/01)
Makes 8 1st course servings
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sweet sausage, casings removed, crumbled into 1/2-in pieces (I used turkey sausage)
8 oz. portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out, caps diced
10 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, diced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups Madeira (or Sherry)
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arborio rice or other medium grain rice (about 13 oz)
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over med-hi heat. Add sausage and saute until beginning to brown, about 3 min. Add all mushrooms, thyme and oregano and suate until mushrooms are tender, about 10 min.
Add 1/2 cup Madeira; boil until almost absorbed, about 1 min. Set aside.
Bring stock to simmer in large saucepan; remove from heat and cover to keep hot.
Melt butter in heavy large pot over med-hi heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 5 min.
Add rice; stir 2 min. Add remaining 1 cup Madeira; simmer until absorbed, about 2 min. Add 1 cup hot stock; simmer until almost absorbed, stirring often, about 3 min.
Continue to cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more stock by cupfuls, stirring often and allowing most stock to be absorbed before adding more, about 25 min.
Stir in sausage mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Pass cheese separately.