This past month I have prepared risotto three times; that’s 3 more times than I’ve made risotto the entire last year! I’m a huge fan of risotto but never find the urge to prepare it for myself. That is, until, I thought of a new way to prepare this Italian dish. Risotto is usually prepared with rice, white wine, and chicken stock, cheese and whatever protein and add-ins you desire. While watching a cooking episode about beer dishes, I thought, “why not prepare risotto with beer instead of the white wine?” A couple days later, I attempted the recipe and was pleasantly surprised with how delicious it came out to be! I present beer risotto with spicy sausage and gouda!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you ever watched Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen, you will recognize that risotto is one of the most difficult dishes for chefs to accomplish. Risotto is an Italian dish made from short grain rice. It requires a slow cooking process to evenly cook the rice and can easily be under or over-cooked. Don’t let these qualities derail you from attempting to prepare this dish at home! If you take your time and follow my hints, your risotto will come out perfect every time.
The first step, heat the chicken broth. Adding hot broth to the rice keeps a constant temperature, shortening the cooking process. When you’re ready to cook, use a heavy-bottomed saucepan or straight-sided saute pan to allow even cooking.
While cooking the risotto, use a wooden spoon to stir the rice. A wooden spoon is less likely to break the grains of the rice as opposed to a metal spoon.
In most recipes, there is only about 1/4-1/2 cup white wine added to the risotto. For my beer risotto, I decided to increase the amount of beer and decrease the amount of stock. I wanted the flavor of the beer to be more prominent than the stock. Choose a dark beer to impart more flavor.
The standard ratio of rice to liquid is 1 cup rice to 3-4 cups liquid. Adjust accordingly as you cook your rice. As the rice absorbs the liquid, it releases its starches and becomes creamy. The butter and cheese at the end help finish the dish. Be careful when seasoning with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the sausage is already salty. You can use a spicy sausage as I did or use sweet Italian, Andouille, chicken apple, whatever you prefer.
When I first took a bite out of the risotto, I was surprised at just how delicious it was. The smoky, spicy sausage cut the heaviness of the dish, while the rich, smooth gouda brought the entire dish together. The dark beer added a nutty element while the rice was perfect al dente. Wash it down with another glass of beer for a real treat!
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