Hands-Off Risotto

Lately I’ve been craving risotto, but honestly, the dish is laborious and finicky, really.  It needs constant attention, sincere compliments, and gentle coaxing in order for it to behave the way I want.  It needs exact heat, warm stock added at just the right time, and if a person so much as blinks at the wrong time, the whole dish is ruined!  Sometimes I just want to walk away from the endless stirring and let the dish bubble away on the stove.

Risotto purists might gasp at what I’m about to say, but walk away is exactly what I did when I made this dish the other night.  It was lovely.  And dead easy.  Did I mention how hearty it was, as well?  This recipe is loaded with spicy chorizo and Italian sausage, tomatoes, and fresh spinach.  It made the house smell lovely and I really didn’t have to do much to make it happen.  Perfect.

Tomato, Sausage, and Spinach Risotto
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


1 can (28 ounces) whole roma tomatoes in juice, hand crushed
2 cups homemade chicken stock (boxed will work, but I prefer homemade)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound hot italian sausage
1/4 pound chorizo
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (ex: Sauvignon Blanc)
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, washed, dried, stems removed, chopped (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons butter


In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with juice), 2 cups chicken stock, and 1 cup water.  Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.

In a Dutch oven (or medium saucepan), heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add sausages and onion; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, breaking up sausage with spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3-5 minutes.

Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1-2 minutes.  Add white wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add about 2 cups of the tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4-5 minutes.  Continue adding the tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for it to be absorbed before adding more.  Stir occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total.

Remove pan from heat.  Carefully fold in spinach, pecorino, and butter; season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately with a little pecorino on top, if desired.

I didn’t use all my liquid – and I tasted along the way.  You want the rice to be tender, but not mushy.  Really, when “occasionally” is mentioned, abide by it.  As long as you have a nice, gentle bubble, and you stir it every now and again, you’ll end up with a lovely risotto.

How I’m spending a rainy afternoon. (Taken with instagram)

Official Norwegian dough. (Taken with instagram)


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Caramel shortbread (by Ann@74)


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Pizza Night (in pictures)

Last summer, Scott and I used to pick up these great little whole-wheat pizza crusts from a shop called Le Quartier Baking Company.  At the time, they were only based in Lincoln, but to our delight, had informed us that soon they would set up shop in Omaha.

Don’t get me wrong, I love making pizza dough from scratch, but these par-baked pizza crusts are the perfect size for the two of us and we don’t have to wait around for the dough to rise!

I love that we get to create whatever combinations we want, top the lovely crusts, and in 10 minutes, voilà!  Pizza!  And by the way, they were all delicious!

Red and yellow onions at the beginning of the caramelizing process.  Yum!

Onions after 40 minutes.  Sweet and lovely.

From L to R: Organic pepperoni, organic pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella; organic pizza sauce, prosciutto, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and feta cheese; caramelized onions, fresh goat cheese (and topped with arugula after baking).

Prosciutto pizza and goat cheese/arugula pizza right after baking.

Organic pepperoni pizza.