If Jarrod had a blog (which he does, notice the title of this one!) there would be pictures and stories included in this recipe. I came home to a meal already in progress and don't know exactly how everything got started. What I do know is that this is one of the most delicious meals we've ever had. The depth of flavor from the chicken broth, pancetta, chicken sausage (we used basil chicken sausage from Sprouts) and the veggies was incredible! Jarrod painstakingly cooked the rice to perfection. He says his arm was definitely tired from stirring, but we've watched enough Food Network to know that the stirring and attention is what makes the risotto work!
Neither Jarrod nor I had much experience with Risotto. Jarrod admitted after the meal that he'd only had risotto one time and I can't remember ever having it. But this was absolutely delicious and much easier than we originally thought!
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 link (about 6 ounces) spicy Italian sausage, casing removed (we used chicken basil sausage)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 ounces button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup dry white wine (we omitted. Having 3/4 of a bottle of white wine in the house just sounded like torture to me!)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (we omitted these as well. I do not like parsley)
I can tell you with great confidence that the first thing my sweet husband did was prepare his mise en place. He chopped the veggies and placed them in their own bowls. He chopped the pancetta, and removed the casing from the sausage. This was all done well before any cooking began. That's how Jarrod rolls. And he likes to use as many bowls, pans, and dishes as he possibly can. But to his credit, the kitchen was mostly clean by the time I got home!
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep warm over low heat.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sausage and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and saute until tender, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. You can see why having everything ready to go before starting was a huge benefit! Season with salt and pepper.
Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 of the Parmesan. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the parsley and remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.
I wish I had pictures to convey the beauty of this dish. Jarrod did an incredible job and the meal was perfection. The veggies, especially the red pepper, made this meal look as pretty as it tasted. We judge a meal based on whether we can serve it to others. My meals usually fall flat because while good, they are normally simply and only appropriate for Grandma's church pot luck. This meal was incredible and could definitely be made for people!