Broiled Cherry Tomato, Sausage, and Red Wine Risotto
Author Marie Asselin, FoodNouveau.com
For the broiled cherry tomatoes
1pintcherry tomatoesabout 9 oz/255 g
1tbsp15 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1tsp5 ml balsamic vinegar
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the red wine risotto
2cups500 ml chicken broth
1tbsp15 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2tbsp30 ml butter, divided
1small onionminced (about 1/2 cup/125 ml)
2fresh mild Italian sausagesmeat removed from the casings
5oz140 g, about 3/4 cup/180 ml risotto rice (Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano)
2cups500 ml medium-bodied red wine, such as the 2017 Merlot from Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Wines
2oz57 g, about 1/2 cup/125 ml freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fresh basil leaves
1/4cup60 ml crushed toasted hazelnuts (see note)
For the broiled cherry tomatoes: Place a rack in the upper third of the oven, then preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Halve the cherry tomatoes and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat, then arrange the cherry tomatoes cut side up. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to the oven. Broil for about 8 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes begin to dry and char around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the risotto.
For the red wine risotto: Pour the chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Warm over low heat until just simmering, then keep warm.
In a large pan, or in a cast-iron braiser set over medium-low heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sausage meat and sauté, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is fully cooked, about 4 minutes. Add the risotto rice and stir for 2 minutes, until the grains are translucent around the edges. Add half of the red wine and stir, scraping down the bottom of the pan to loosen the caramelized bits. Simmer until the wine is absorbed. Add 1 ladleful of the hot chicken broth and simmer, stirring from time to time, until the broth is almost completely absorbed. Add the remaining red wine and simmer, stirring from time to time, until the wine is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding broth, one ladleful at a time, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before adding more. When there's about 1 ladleful of broth left, taste the risotto. Risotto is perfectly cooked when it is tender with a little bite. Add more broth if the risotto needs it, making sure to save about 1/2 cup (125 ml) of broth to finish the risotto right before serving (warm up more broth if needed).
When the risotto is al dente, lower the heat to the minimum, then add the remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Stir until the butter and the cheese are melted. Stir in half of the broiled cherry tomatoes and the remaining broth (about 1/2 cup/125 ml). The risotto should be loose and super creamy.
SERVING: Divide between warm shallow bowls. Garnish with the remaining broiled cherry tomatoes, toasted hazelnuts, and fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle each serving with a tiny pinch of flaky sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
How to toast and peel hazelnuts: Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and bake at 350°F (170°C) for 15 minutes, giving the tray a good shake every five minutes. When the hazelnuts’ skin is shiny and crackled, remove from the oven and transfer to a clean dish towel. Close the towel up into a bundle and rub the hazelnuts against one another vigorously to remove the skin. Open the towel and pick up the peeled hazelnuts. Some bits of skin will remain and that’s ok, simply make sure to discard all the loose papery bits. Keep the peeled hazelnuts in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
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