Thursday, July 8

An excess of choice.....

I sometimes think the hardest part of cooking is deciding WHAT to cook. Is there such a thing as too much choice? That moment standing in the supermarket, deli or whatever , surrounded by a variety of foods (and funny food-like substances, lets be honest....) our grandparents could would not even recognise....paralysed by indecision.
Tonight I took the alternative route. Tired, and with cold feet (I have the circulation of an inert sloth......) the idea of getting out of the car (heater blasting at a skin sloughing 24 C) didn't appeal much anyway, so I decided to head straight home. Dinner would be whatever was lurking in the pantry. Be afraid? Happily, it was pretty darn good.

Patient reader, I give you Sausage and Pea risotto

OK, it does not look like the most exciting supper on earth, but it actually tasted really good. Savoury and satisfying, not easy when you are feeding two people with two sausages.......which you have not bothered to label properly before freezing (why do I always think I will remember, why??)  I was fairly certain from the colour one was Venison and red wine, the other turned out to be lamb. Skinned and broken into chunks, they were fried up until crusty and sizzling. I have banged this drum before I know, but a good meaty butchers sausage is so much more substantial than a cheap one,  it goes further and adds  much more flavour......

In the meantime I fried half an onion in about 20 grams of butter and a splash of olive oil, then added one cup of Vialone Nano risotto rice. No it isn't cheap (about $17 for an approx 5 cup bag, which lasts ages), yes I think it does the best risotto, and given the rice is the main event for this particular dish, it is worth using a good one. I get mine at New World, but Farro also stock it, as do Sabato (available to purchase online).

After toasting the rice in the fat for a minute, I poured in about 1/3 cup of red wine, I cannot tell you what variety as it came out of another unlabelled container in the freezer. Before you scoff, according to Bob Campbell MW, freezing if perfectly fine, and the wine should suffer no ill effects..........if he cant tell the diff, I surely wont, especially not when it is about to be biffed into a saucepan and boiled.
Stirring the wine in, I then stirred in ladlefuls of hot chicken stock (from little LABELLED glad bags , I learnt my lesson here after defrosting egg whites thinking they were liquid stock, hmmmm), it was 2.5 cups in all. A little of the stock was poured over a few saffron strands, these were then added to the pan with the fried sausage chunks. When the rice was cooked, without that chalky centre (probably overcooked for an Italian, but there were none dining with us so no worries......) I added 1/2 cup of frozen peas, plenty of seasoning, another knob of butter and about 1/3 cup of Grana Padano (cheaper than Parmigiana, and totally fine for this), stirred again, and served.
Not bad for a cupboard rummage, I would totally have it again, maybe with a spicier sausage, and some garlic.......


  1. I am with you on the quality sausage bandwagon, so often people diss sausages, but they have never tried the good ones. I have a sausage attachment for my kitchen-aid which is fun but a once a year sort of thing, might have to haul it out again, they are so tasty!

  2. I'm with you on the labelling freezer bags... I've just started doing it after finding so many mystery items during a big fridge clean-out :) I haven't made risotto in a while but love that it can be made with whatever's on hand!

  3. Thanks for your comments:)
    Becs I am so jealous, really want to try making my own, I have a voucher to spend from my birthday and I cant decide between pasta or sausage attachment...!
    Millie so glad I am not the only one, outdid myself topping a savoury pasta with sweet crumble topping I mistook in a rush for breadcrumbs...doh!


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