When the mood for something special strikes, there's nothing like risotto. Madeira wine makes this one special. Elegant enough for company, down home and delicious enough for family, it's fun to make and a joy to serve. The evenings are growing cooler, so why not grab a bottle of Madeira and a package or three of those pre-sliced wild mushrooms the stores carry now and create this delicious dish?
RISOTTO with ITALIAN SAUSAGE and WILD MUSHROOMS
For the Sausage and Mushrooms:
2 Tbs. olive oil
1½ lbs. sweet Italian sausage (5-6 sausages)
8 oz. sliced Baby Bella or Crimini mushrooms
10 oz. sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ cup Madeira wine
For the Rice:
6-7 cups chicken broth
1 stick (½ cup) butter
1 large vidalia onion, chopped
4-5 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups carnaroli or other arborio-type rice
1 cup Madeira wine
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove sausages from casings and sauté in oil, breaking into bite-sized chunks. When sausage is nearly browned, fold in mushrooms with thyme and oregano. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Add ½ cup Madeira wine and stir another minute. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. Reheat on low when ready to cook rice.
2. Simmer chicken broth in a 3-qt. saucepan. Melt butter in non-stick skillet and add onion. Sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Add rice and stir to coat grains with butter mixture, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup Madeira wine and simmer, stirring, until nearly absorbed. Add a ladleful of hot chicken broth to wine and stir until nearly absorbed. Continue ladling broth into rice, stirring frequently, for 18 minutes. Rice should be firm but not crunchy and have a creamy consistency. Cook more if desired, but don’t over cook.
3. Stir sausage and mushroom mixture into rice. Season with salt and pepper. Add parsley and serve, passing cheese at the table. Serve with salad and crunchy bread. 6 generous servings.