Risotto with Leeks, Sausage, and Roasted Peppers

I have done a terrible job blogging this week! But somehow between wing night with my coworkers, a friend visiting and taking us out to dinner, and another night out thanks to a Groupon my mom gave us for Christmas, we’ve gone out to eat three times this week. This is totally unheard of for us, but was a lot of fun and I was able to take a small cooking break.

This past Monday I was able to get in one meal before all the craziness started and I decided to make a sausage and leek risotto with arugula and roasted peppers. This dish can be time consuming, so be warned, but it’s delicious when all is said and done. Risotto requires a lot of attention, so you also need to make sure you have the time to dedicate to cooking before you start, but time and attention aside, it’s an easy dish to prepare.

Risotto is a very hearty meal and a stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish, but it can still be very summery depending on what vegetables you use. This dish can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the sausage and using vegetable stock. You should also feel free to add lots of yummy parmesan cheese to this dish, which helps with the creamy consistency. Because Nick’s not a huge fan of cheese, I used a little extra butter at the end which may be heavier on calories but is important for getting the right texture.

Risotto with Leeks, Sausage, and Roasted Peppers

  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 medium leeks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 pound sausage meat (removed from casings)
  • 2 cups Arborio rice (sometimes labeled as risotto rice)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 10 oz baby arugula
  • 2 roasted bell peppers (directions follow)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add in the leeks and garlic and sauté until the leeks begin to soften – about 5 minutes. When the leeks are ready, add in the sausage meat and continue cooking until it is browned and crumbly. You can usually find sausage meat out of the casings when you go shopping, which will save you a step down the line.

When the sausage is cooked, add in the rice and stir for a minute. This allows the rice to toast, but be careful that it does not burn. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the wine and stir until everything is well mixed. Continue to stir until most of the wine is absorbed. Add in 1 cup of the stock and repeat this process. Continue to add the remaining broth in ½ cup intervals until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in the arugula and continue to mix it in until the arugula is slightly wilted and is well distributed. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and stir it in. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

You can roast the peppers while you make your risotto. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the whole peppers on the baking sheet and place it on the top rack of the oven. Roast the peppers for 45-50 minutes, turning every 15 or so minutes. Keep an eye on them so that they do not burn. Turn them once they begin to get black and bubbly on that side.

Remove the peppers from the oven when they are done and place them in a bowl. Quickly cover the bowl with plastic wrap very tightly, allowing the steam to stay trapped in the bowl. After about 10 minutes, remove the plastic wrap, peel the skin from the peppers, and clean them. Then chop the peppers into strips and serve over your risotto. Yum!

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