Dirty Risotto – Great Weeknight Dinner!

Risotto is an Italian dish of rice cooked in stock with other ingredients such as meat and vegetables.  It can seem intimidating to make a risotto if you’ve never done it before but really, it’s not much harder than most dishes.

One of my favorite weeknight dinners, this risotto can be quite flexible based on whatever ingredients you might have on hand.  I’ve switched meats around and interchanged veggies – all with great results!

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Dirty Risotto – serves 4

6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (you can use broth here if you’d like too)

2 T. butter

4 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces

1/2 lb. smoked sausage, cut into small chunks

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 -1/2 c. arborio rice (for risotto, you need a short-grain rice)

1 c. grated Parmesan

1 Tbs. parsley

1-2 large handfuls of spinach (optional), torn into smaller pieces

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My parents have wild spinach growing on their land. We used that this time and it was wonderful!

-IN a medium saucepan, bring stock to a simmer over low heat.

-IN a large saucepan or skillet, brown the bacon and the smoked sausage for about 5 minutes.  Remove meat and set aside.  Leave drippings in the pan.

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-ADD butter to the drippings in the pan and sauté the onion and pepper until tender, about 7 minutes.

-STIR in the rice, salt, and pepper into the veggies.

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-SLOWLY add the stock one ladleful at a time, about 1/2 c, stirring until the stock has been almost fully 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 25-30 minutes total.

What it looks like with a new ladle-ful of stock.
What it looks like with a new ladleful of stock.
After the stock is absorbed and ready for the next ladle!
After the stock is absorbed, it’s ready for the next ladle!

-ADD the meat and the spinach to the risotto.  Stir in well and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until the spinach is wilted.

-REMOVE from heat.

-STIR Parmesan and parsley.  Serve immediately.

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