Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Rice, Rice Baby

Risotto con Zucchine, Salsiccia Piccante e Peperoni
Risotto with Zucchini, Picy Sausage and Peppers

It's a cold Summers night. That's right- welcome to Frankfurt! The mad roller coaster ride of the European Summer, Anno 2011, continues to shake, rattle and roll, loop the loop and water-slide us through all 4 seasons in one day if it so wishes. And of course- it so wishes! I was planning on grilling some peppers and zucchinis and making an anti-pasti-styled mixed salad. But after walking home, battling the wind and rain with my umbrella, I decided I needed something a little more substantial and filling. It needed to be comfort food on a dark and dreary evening like this. So I came up with this here little disheroo of hearty and spicy risotto...

I started out with the best of intentions and thinking I would make a nice mediterranean meal and found it transforming into something slightly Cajun when I discovered the pot of "Slap Yo Mamma!" spice mix at the back of my cupboard. 

I had bought it on a trip to New Orleans a couple of years ago- and somehow never really got around to using it... a blend of peppers, celery, oregano, garlic and cumin amongst other ingredients. And it sounded more and more yummy as I read the label. 

Suddenly I was in the mood for a little spice in my rice, and in next to no time I put together this colorful, Summery dish and once again, chased away the rain with a good meal and a sip of chilled white wine...

I started off the risotto in the traditional Italian manner- rice in butter, splash of white wine, constant stirring... you know the drill. As soon as I had added the wine and de glazed the saucepan, I added some finely chopped carrot, onion and celery, a tablespoon of tomato paste, a crushed clove of garlic and a couple of tablespoons of finely diced red peppers. I decided to use a chicken broth to make this and added it ladle by ladle, stirring all the time... but still managed to get my other ingredients done at the same time too. You are only going to need a single frying pan, so it is all doable... and this is how!

Thinly slice some spicy sausage and fry in a dry Teflon pan... there will soon be plenty of oil in that pan without you adding any more! When the sausage is nice and brown, remove it, set it to one side start frying your thinly- sliced zucchini in the same pan, making use of the fat from the sausage to boost the flavor and color. Fry for just 2-3 minutes on each side until the zucchini is nice and soft and turns a vibrant yellow/green color. Season with a little salt and set to one side. 

At this point, check on your rice and see how it is doing for flavor. Mine seemed a little lacking and so I added some of my pepper and spice mix. You can add oregano, garlic, celery or cumin separately if you don't have any of that goold old Slap Yo mamma mix... I am thinking the chances are probably that you dont- lol!

Back to our meal again- last but not least add the thinly sliced peppers and fry them for 3-4 minutes in the same pan you fried the sausage and zucchini in. Season with salt, sugar and cumin seed and add a splash of white wine. Stir until the wine has evaporated and repeat the procedure 2-3 times until the peppers are soft, sweet and delicious...

Ready to serve now? Of course you are! 
And ready to eat this? You bet!

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