My husband and I are fans of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” Truth be told, the drama and yelling attract me more than any food on the show, but I noticed that risotto was a staple in every single menu served on the show. I didn’t really know what risotto was, much less how to prepare it, so when I came across a sausage and asparagus risotto recipe in a Kroger circular I decided to try it. I’ve modified the recipe slightly and created a low sodium version (since my world now involves doctor-mandated low salt foods). Both versions ended up tasting wonderful, although I would encourage folks to try the “real” version first to get the full experience, especially if you have never tried risotto.
My big “a-ha” was that Arborio rice is made specifically for risotto recipes. Make certain to get this specialty rice so that the risotto turns out the way it should. A trick that seemed to work out well for me was to cook the asparagus in the same skillet that I had browned the sausage. This gave the asparagus a really good flavor, and I had trouble not snacking on the asparagus before it went into the risotto! The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms, but I doubled the amount the first time I made it and tripled it the second time, although you could certainly adjust the amount of any of the vegetables to suit your taste.
I used our Lodge 12-inch Pro-Logic skillet, which was the perfect size for the risotto. The sloping sides of this piece of cast iron made the stirring go smoothly—a bonus since the recipe calls for 20 minutes of constant stirring! I used a slanted wooden spatula (pictured), normally used for woks, although any wooden spoon would do.
I loved this recipe so much that I made it twice in three days! Rick definitely liked the regular version the best, but I must admit that the low sodium was more to my liking. Thanks to Gordon Ramsay and “Hell’s Kitchen,” I’m now “in-the-know” about risotto!
(low sodium options in red)
Cast Iron Required:
- 1 lb. smoked sausage (or half a pound of sausage)
- 4 cups chicken broth (4 tsp. sodium free chicken bouillon w/ 4 cups water)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 2 Tbsp. butter (unsalted butter)
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups sliced asparagus, cooked crisp-tender
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided (no cheese)
Cut sausage into ½ inch cubes; set aside. Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low.
Heat oil in a 12-inch Pro-Lodgic skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is browned.
Add butter and rice. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in wine; cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed.
Stir in ½ cup of heated chicken broth. Cook, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed. Add remaining broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed (about 20 minutes total).
Remove from heat; stir in asparagus and ½ of the Parmesan. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.
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Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or you can contact Kathy directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.