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Apple Cider Sausage Risotto

February 8, 2012

What is the old adage? An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, last week I wasn’t feeling so hot and although I did in fact have to see a doctor, I followed up my visit with that helpful rule … except I amended it in true fat kid form to make room for other delicious things like cheese and Italian sausage.

Liz and I are both big fans of risotto and we love discovering new ways to reinvent the dish with different flavor profiles. Usually risottos call for a dry white (or sometimes red) wine for a little flavor. I loved that this one substituted hot apple cider instead. This recipe feels very New York to me with both apples and Italian sausage, perfect for a cold day in the city.

Apple Cider Sausage Risotto
Washington Post

3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon mild olive oil or vegetable oil
8 ounces mild sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
2 medium crisp apples, such as Granny Smith, Jonathan or Cortland, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup Arborio or risotto-style rice
1/2 to 1 cup warm apple cider, as needed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheeseS
Salt, Peppet to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the chicken broth just until it comes to a boil,  then reduce the heat to low to keep the broth warm.

While the chicken broth is heating, heat the oil in a large (at least 4-quart) pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring, until the sausage has lost its raw look and is starting to brown. Add the onion and apples and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they soften and start to take on color. Add the rice, stirring to combine. Add 1 cup of the warm chicken broth and stir continuously until the liquid is almost fully absorbed; then add the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously and allowing the liquid to be absorbed each time before adding more.

When all the broth has been incorporated, add 1/2 cup of the apple cider. When that is absorbed, taste the rice for doneness. If it is still too firm, add the remaining 1/2 cup of cider. When the risotto looks creamy and the rice is slightly firm to the bite, it’s done.

Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan, stirring just to combine. Serve immediately

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