Risotto with Luganiga Sausage

There’s a risotto in the Veneto region of Italy that’s made with Luganiga sausage.   Butchers in that region sell Luganiga loose (without the casing) precisely for making this dish.

Beppi was describing it to me the other day and I thought I’d try my hand at it.   It’s the same basic preparation as plain risotto, only with the addition of loose raw sausage along with the shallot or onion. The sausage is allowed to brown lightly, then the rice is added.

The delicate, slightly sweet flavor of the sausage is wonderful with the rice, and the dish is substantial enough to be the main course, which it was for us this evening.

We began with a simple salad of local lettuce and tomatoes with a bit of goat’s milk feta sprinkled on top.

As a vegetable, we had some of Beppi’s long beans, simply dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Risotto with Luganiga Sausage

serves 6

3 c arborio rice

1 lb luganiga sausage, removed from its casing

4 large shallots or 1 medium onion, finely diced

6 tbls butter

2 tbls olive oil

1 c white wine

3 qts good chicken broth

lots of grated parmigiano for sprinkling

In a heavy saucepan with curved sides, begin sauteing sausage, shallots, 4 tablespoons butter and the oil on low heat.  Chop and break up the sausage as you saute it.  Bring the broth to a simmer in a separate pot on the side.

After the sausage and shallots have begun browning (about 7 minutes), add the rice and saute the rice for another 3 – 4 minutes.

Turn heat to high and add in the wine.  Reduce for a minute (it will sizzle and reduce very quickly) and continue stirring.  Reduce heat to medium and begin adding simmering broth, 1 cup at a time until each addition is absorbed.  Continue stirring almost constantly (the sausage will stick if you don’t stir continuously) for exactly 15 minutes.

Turn off heat and cover for 5 minutes.  There should be some broth remaining–if there’s no more broth, heat a little water with a pinch of salt.  After the 5 minute rest, add remaining butter, a handful of grated cheese and more broth (or salted water) to bring to bring to a slightly soupy consistency.  Serve immediately in warm bowls with lots of grated cheese.

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