Risotto with Pumpkin, Sausage and Sage
Risotto di Zucca, Salsiccia e salvia
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the chicken stock and pumpkin puree. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and keep at a simmer.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the sausage in the olive oil, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, 6-8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and scoop out the meat with a slotted spoon. Set the meat aside. If the sausage is not very lean, drain the pan of excess fat, leaving only 2-3 tablespoons in the bottom of the pan.
Return the pot to the stove and add the garlic and the onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the rice, half of the sage, salt and pepper. Cook another minute, until the rice is well coated and slightly opaque. Return the meat to the pan. Pour on the wine, stirring to dislodge any flavorful brown bits that may stick to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the liquid by half, simmering for 1-2 minutes.
To make the risotto, add about 1 cup of the simmering chicken stock and pumpkin mixture. Stir the rice continually until the broth is absorbed. Add another half cup of stock and stir again until the liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding liquid until the rice is just tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the cream, Parmesan cheese and the remaining sage. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
CHEF’S NOTE: If you prefer a slightly wetter risotto, stir in an additional ¾ cup of stock after the rice has finished cooking. If you have any leftover risotto, shape it into a log and chill. Slice the cold risotto into cakes and fry in olive oil until crisp, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve risotto cakes for a hearty brunch or a quick supper.