Sausage and Fennel Risotto


By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

I’m not typically much of a rice eater, but there’s something about risotto during the colder months that I can’t resist. This dish is deliciously hearty and far different from most risottos I’ve had because it combines chicken sausage and light vegetables.

Serves 4.

What you’ll need:
12 oz chicken sausage, chopped without casings
1 large fennel bulb
1 large shallot
2/3 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tsp fennel seed
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
3 tbsp margarine
2/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
Ground pepper to taste

Trim and dice the fennel. Discard the stalks and the core of the bulb. Keep a few of the fronds for garnish.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallot, carrots, and celery and cook for about three minutes.

Add the sausages and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir with a large spoon to break up the sausages while it cooks.

Stir in the fennel (everything you saved, but the fronds) and the fennel seed to the pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes before adding the wine. Cook until the wine evaporates and add the rice. Stir consistently for 2-4 minutes.

Add vegetable stock a 1/2 cup at a time. Allow the stock to evaporate each time before adding the next 1/2 cup. Cook and stir until the rice softens approximately 15 minutes.

Turn off heat and stir in the margarine and cheese. Serve in bowls and top with the fennel fronds.