Recipe: Tomato-sausage risotto

Risotto has been a family favorite dish for a long time, and this version is a great way to use Dad’s homegrown tomatoes (many of which he chops up and freezes in quart bags for year-round use). I liked this version so much that I put in in my family recipe compilation cookbook!

Tomato and sausage risotto

Yield: 6 servings with leftovers

Adapted from: family recipes and Smitten Kitchen.

2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes in juice, or 2 quart bags frozen tomatoes
1 T olive oil
1-1.5 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 c Arborio rice
3/4 c dry white wine
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach (10 to 14 ounces), washed well, tough stems removed, chopped (about 8 cups), or same amount baby spinach
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
½ c fresh basil, chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine tomatoes with their juice and 4 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage, onion, and bell pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion and pepper have softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 2-3 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 2 minutes.

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 35 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).

Turn heat down to low. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and basil and continue stirring until spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Leftover risotto tip: For a tasty way to re-heat a substantial amount of leftover risotto, lightly oil a casserole dish and fill with risotto. Add a splash of water, top with Parmesan cheese, and cook at 350 F until rice is heated through and top is lightly browned and crispy (cover if the top is getting too done before the middle is hot).

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