A risotto recipe from Northern Italy and the city of Monza, just outside of Milan. We enjoyed this dish in the Lake Como area and the addition of the sausage really adds a whole new flavor profile to this hearty meal! It is traditionally prepared with Luganega, a typical Italian sausage, but you can use any high quality local pork sausage.
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound (2 ½ cups) short-grained rice (such as Carnaroli or Arborio)
- 1 cup dry Italian white wine
- 1 pound loose, locally-made sausage
- 5 cups heated vegetable or pork stock
- 5 cups Caputo Brothers Creamery mozzarella make-water (the "liquid gold" leftover from stretching our curd)
- ¼ cup grated Caputo Brothers Creamery Vecchio ricotta salata, or ½ cup Grana Padano cheese + extra for garnish
- Pinch of saffron
- minced flat-leaf parsley (optional garnish)
- In a large, heavy pot (Le Creuset or similar enameled cast-iron pot) melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the onion and cook/stir about 5 minutes, or until translucent and soft. Add sausage and cook through.
- Add rice, and toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until rice begins to become a bit translucent around the edges has a nutty, popcorn-like aroma.
- Add the wine and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring vigorously, until the wine has been absorbed.
- Then one-ladleful at a time, add a ladleful of stock. After a couple of these, switch to make-water if you have it and use until the rice is to your desired salt-level. Then switch back to stock. If just using stock, continue in this way (you will have to add some salt in at some point to reach your desired level of seasoning).
- Continue this way, adding a ladle of stock about every minute or so as the rice absorbs the liquid, stirring constantly. After about 10 minutes, add the saffron to the stock to steep.
- Continue adding the stock to the rice - the entire process will take at least 20 minutes, and possibly more depending on the heat, which rice you’ve selected, etc. Continue tasting rice for flavor and texture.
- Risotto is done when creamy, and rice is cooked, but has a slight al dente texture, much like pasta.
- Turn off the heat, add remaining butter and the cheese. You may need to add a ladle of stock to loosen it before serving. Serve immediately onto plates or shallow bowls. It should neither be too thick, nor too soupy, and able to be eaten with a fork.