Summer Vegetable Risotto

Risotto often raises a red alert flag in many fellow cooks because we all think it’s too difficult to make. This really isn’t true, and I think where the confusion lies is the fact that you have to slowly add liquid in and stir frequently- aka, be present while cooking. Stirring loosens the starchy molecules from the rice and into your liquid, creating a smooth rich creamy sauce. So adding in hot liquid and letting it absorb into the rice slowly and create the sauce. If you’d like to make this recipe more healthy you can use turkey or chicken sausage, or no sausage at all, and add in half the Parmesan and butter, or replace the butter with 1 T olive oil. This was a great way to use all the summer vegetables coming out of the garden right now. If you have the time and want to use fresh tomato go for it- but we had a lot of fresh corn, basil, zucchini! And let me tell you, this was SO fresh, so creamy and rich and delicious- I can’t wait to eat leftovers for lunch and make this again as the seasons change with different veggies.

Summer Vegetable Risotto
Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food
Serves 6
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large zucchini, about 3/4 pound, coarsely chopped in bite size pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup cooking Sherry + 1/4 cup water

1 clove garlic, minced 
14 ounces baby spinach, chopped (about 7 cups)
2 ears of corn, boiled to cook and carved from cob
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons butter

In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage, zucchini and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic to combine.

Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sherry+ water; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Set your timer for 25 minutes, and continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next (every 5-6 minutes), stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender (you may not have to use all the liquid).

Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, corn, basil, Parmesan, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

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