Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Risotto and An Award

Despite the fact that both my maternal and paternal roots are in southern Italy, I have long been a fan of risotto. I'll stand at the stove stirring for the requisite 20 minutes with nary a complaint for the pure pleasure of eating this incredible dish. I'll confess that I often use the microwave recipe I've perfected over the years for a quick and easy weeknight dish.

When I found this recipe in the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook, I decided to make it the "long" way to fully appreciate the recipe. Now that it has been given a "10," the highest score I bestow on a dish, I'll make it using the microwave next time.

Broccoli rabe is an acquired taste. It wasn't until a few years ago that I began using it in pasta dishes and soups, then finally as a stand-alone vegetable. If prepared correctly, you can almost rid it of any bitterness. Almost...but not quite, and that's what makes it such a delicious vegetable.

This sausage and broccoli rabe risotto is supposed to serve 6; I'm sure if you begin with a soup or salad, that would be the case. It served 2 of us for 2 hearty meals. A one-sixth serving is 6 points (291 calories for 1 cup). That is, if you make it "as written." I've put my one change in red. I increased the sausage from 1/2 pound to 1 pound.

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
1/2 lb Italian turkey sausage, hot or sweet, casing removed and sausage crumbled (I used 1 lb SWEET Italian turkey sausage)
1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, rinsed and chopped

To make the risotto, bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat to keep the broth at a simmer.

Heat the oil in a large, nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the rice and cook until the outer shell is lightly toasted, 2-3 minutes.

Add the wine, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed before adding more. The cooking time from the first addition of broth should be 20-24 minutes. If you need to, heat and add more broth. Stir in the parsley.

As the broth is being added, spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned. Break up with a wooden fork. Add the broccoli rabe. Cover and cook until wilted, about 7 minutes.

Stir the sausage and broccoli rabe into the risotto and serve.

Remember that timing and temperature are key to a successful risotto. The broth has to be kept at a simmer; the broth has to be added in 1/2 cup increments and stirred constantly; the heat under the cooking rice has to be kept turned to medium so it, too, maintains a gentle simmer and doesn't stick.

This dish tasted even better reheated the next day. It is filling and delicious and worth the bit of extra trouble.

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I love to blog hop and often do this by visiting some of my foodie friends' blogs and clicking on their favorites. Over time I've found many like-minded cyber friends and acquaintances.

Recently, one of my foodie friends and fellow book lovers, Rachel (http://wheat-free-meat-free.blogspot.com/) graciously passed on to me this "Adorable Blog" award which she received from another great food blogger, Ivy (http://kopiaste.org/), one of the founders of BloggerAid (http://bloggeraid.ning.com/. Please check out BloggerAid if you haven't done so already; it's a wonderful initiative.

Rachel owns Old Saratoga Books, a used and rare bookstore, and lives in an area that I fell in love with 15 years ago. While we haven't met face to face, yet, I can see why Ivy finds the Crispy Cook adorable. Thank you, Rachel, for your kind words and for the wonderful recipes and glimpses of your life that you share with us.

Here are the rules for this award:

1) Include the award logo in your blog or post.

2) Nominate as many blogs which show adorability, cuteness and charm.

3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5) Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

It took a bit of rumination to match award with blogger. I follow so many wonderful food blogs, each special in its own way. Some of the bloggers are all about the food; others share a bit of their lives with us. Some are business-like in their postings; others write in a more stream-of-consciousness way, as though their blogs are personal journals. I finally narrowed down my choices to the following food bloggers, whom I believe endear themselves to their readers by showing who they are both inside and outside their passion for cooking.

A Stove with a House Around It - http://stoveria.blogspot.com/

As soon as I read Dianne's bio and learned that the deciding factor in her buying her house was the stove, I knew she was a kindred spirit. Cooking in Akron, Ohio, Dianne loves complex recipes, the kind that take 3 days to get through. She's recently begun baking her own bread; has a nifty new cupboard thanks to her handy dad; and, has a blog filled with great photos and stories. Her blog is, indeed, adorable.

Finding La Dolce Vita - http://findingladolcevita.blogspot.com/

MaryAnn is a fellow New Yorker who more often than not has an incredible recipe for traditional Italian food on her blog. She has a flair for writing and has dedicated her blog to her dear Grandmother and Grandfather, the former responsible for her love of cooking. MaryAnn recently held the very successful 2nd Annual Festa Italiana (along with my next award winner). Having lost my Mother this past year, I was ecstatic to find MaryAnn's recipe for Italian Easter cookies. Please visit her wonderful blog.

Proud Italian Cook - http://prouditaliancook.blogspot.com/

PIC is another fabulous foodie, writing and cooking out of Chicago, Illinois. Just reading her list of recipes starts my mouth to watering. She and MaryAnn did a wonderful job with their annual Festa Italiana a few weeks back. PIC has incredible photos to go along with her prose. I look forward eagerly to each of her posts.

Well, there you have it. Just three of the many, many food bloggers who take time from their busy lives to share their love of all things culinary.

an amazing initiative that you should check out, if you haven't already.


  1. Your kind words really touched me. This was so generous of you. I will display this award proudly.
    maryann xox

  2. Arlene, The best thing about blogging is meeting people like you! Thank you so much for your kind words, I appreciate the award very much, although I'm not the best with all the rules, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    xox, Marie

  3. I will go right now and visit these three blogs. They all so sound interesting from your description.

  4. a 10, eh? it must be darn good! and forgive my ignorance, but what does southern italy have against risotto?

  5. This looks so warm and wonderful! I have been wanting to try risotto and yours looks so good!!

  6. I sooooo want to make this!!! Broccoli Rabe and sausage is my favorite combo with pasta!

  7. Congrats on your well deserved award Arlene --you passed it on to wonderful blogs!

    I love brocolli rabe and mixing it with risotto sounds wonderful!

  8. Hello Arlene!! You have a lovely blog! Really liked it!

    I have tagged you in a Me-Me tag on my blog

    Please continue tagging your friends..it soo much fun!!


  9. Wow, I love risotto and this is a great way to flavor it up! Yum.

  10. this is another wonderful recipe cant wait to try this love it, I actually just started making my own sausage, tried turkey last week I love it hot!, and will be sticking to using Turkey for a healty recipe! love this recipe thanks


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