Risotto is a recipe I learnt to cook before I knew my husband, Matthew. It’s one of the few recipes that I can cook better than he can.
As we had no bones for the stock, we decided to make a vegetable stock consisting of half a stalk of celery (plus leaves), half an onion, several parsley stalks, a bay leaf and a few peppercorns. I boiled the lot for half an hour.
As it is difficult to find sausages with no spices (because I am intolerant to chilli and paprika) I decided to use pork mince and a pinch of fennel seeds.
This risotto recipe has excellent flavours, even though I hardly followed the recipe instructions.
Rose Gray says the following about the recipe:
I’ve always been a fan of Marcella Hazen. She’s an evocative food writer who is also very good on detail and precision and understands the importance of texture. This is a warming, wintry dish for people who love eating. I first came across it on a wine trip to Verona about 10 years ago. At that time you could only buy dried borlotti beans in the Uk; it’s only recently that fresh ones have arrived in our markets. They have a beautiful creamy consistency; they take on all the flavours of the fennelly sausage.
Risotto with sausage and borlotti beans recipe
Adapted from Risotto with sausage and cranberry (borlotti) beans – Marcella Hazan, Marcella Cucina
200g tin of borlotti beans
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsps butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup of pork mince
1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
4 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of arborio rice
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)
salt and pepper
- Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan and maintain a low simmer.
- Add the olive oil to a second saucepan and gently cook the onion until translucent. Add the pork mince and brown. Add the fennel seeds and stir in.
- Add the butter and when melted add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Coat all grains of rice with the butter.
- Add some vegetable stock to just cover the rice and increase the heat to medium.
- Mash the beans in a bowl and then add to the risotto.
- Cook, stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Gradually add more stock waiting until each new batch has been absorbed. Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot!
- When the rice is ready stir in the Parmesan cheese and parsley (if using). Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve after 25 minutes, or when the rice is al dente.