Sausage, Fennel, and Broccoli Risotto

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As I’ve previously mentioned, Ben has a rather…interesting palate for a guy who doesn’t turn 2 until August. Tonight was a leftovers night, so he had a combination of leftover palak paneer and pizza. Totally normal diet. One thing that this kid likes is rice. Whenever he sees it he says, “Rye-sh? Rye-sh?” like the seagulls in Finding Nemo. Last night, I made risotto (“Rye-sh?! Rye-sh?!”) and Ben was pleased. He tapped his plate and said, “Morch?” We’re working on his Parseltongue accent.

Fair warning, it’s hard to make risotto healthy. I did my best. 🙂

Sausage, Fennel and Broccoli Risotto

 (Baby approved! 4-6 servings)

1 ½ cup of Arborio rice

5-6 cups of chicken stock

1 cup of white wine (I used Pinot Grigio), divided

4 Tb butter, divided

2 Tb olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped and divided

4 cloves garlic, divided

2 spicy Italian sausages (I used turkey), casings removed

1 bulb fennel, sliced

4 cups of broccoli florets

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp crushed red pepper

½ cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Over medium-high heat, brown the sausage in a large pan. Set aside, add enough olive oil with the left over grease to get 2 tablespoons.
  2. Add half of the onion to the pan with 2 cloves of garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the fennel and broccoli and coat with the olive oil, garlic, and onions. Add in about a ¼ cup of the wine and stir. All of the wine should be absorbed by the vegetables.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and cook the vegetables until the stalks of the broccoli have become a bright green.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat the chicken stock over a medium heat. Reduce the temperature to keep it warm.
  6. In a large pan, heat two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the ½ of the onion and 1 clove of garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  7. Pour in the rice and coat with the butter, garlic, and onion mixture. Stir in remaining ¾ of a cup of wine. Keep stirring the rice until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Ladle the chicken stock into the rice a little at a time. Stir until all of the liquid has been incorporated before adding in the next ladle. The amount of stock can vary depending on your tastes. If you like a more “al dente” risotto, use less stock. If you like a softer risotto, use more.
  9. Throughout the cooking process, gradually season the rice with the crushed red pepper, salt and pepper until you get to your taste.
  10. When the risotto is done to your liking, add in the remaining 2 Tb of butter and stir until incorporated.
  11. Before combining the vegetables and sausage with the risotto, add the lemon juice to the vegetables and stir.
  12. Combine the rice, vegetables, and sausage in a large bowl and mix in the Parmesan cheese. Enjoy immediately!
Enjoy with a delightful glass of wine

Enjoy with a delightful glass of wine

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