Risotto is the Italian way of doing rice. So it’s of course going to be loaded up with plenty of hearty ingredients, like sausage, tomato, and fragrant Tuscan herbs. But what you might not expect is a breath of fresh vibrant veg on top: a heap of thinly-shaved lemony zucchini is added on for contrast and crispness. Between the warm hearty grains and flavorful accents, there’s no doubt that this one is the complete package.
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Italian Pork Sausage
Tuscan Heat Spice
Chicken Stock Concentrate
Remove sausage from casings; discard casings. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage, breaking up meat with a spoon. Cook until browned, 5-7 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a paper-towel-lined plate, keeping as much oil in pan as possible.
Wash and dry all produce. While sausage cooks, halve onion. Peel and thinly slice one half (save the other for another use). Core tomato and cut into small cubes.
Heat pan used for sausage over medium heat. Add 1 TBSP butter, onion, ½ tsp sugar, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add rice and Tuscan heat spice. Cook, stirring, until grains are translucent, 1 minute. Stir in tomato and ⅓ cup water, scraping to release any browned bits on bottom.
Meanwhile, measure out 3 cups hot water (hot water from your tap is fine). Add stock concentrate and ⅓ cup hot water to pan with rice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue adding water ⅓ cup at a time, stirring after each addition and letting water absorb before adding more (about every 2 to 3 minutes). Cook until al dente and creamy, about 25 minutes. TIP: You may not use all of the water.
While risotto cooks, trim ends from zucchini. Using a peeler, shave zucchini lengthwise into ribbons, rotating until you get to the seedy core; discard core. Zest ½ tsp zest from lemon, then cut into quarters. Squeeze 2 tsp lemon juice into a medium bowl. Toss in zucchini, lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Once risotto is done cooking, stir in sausage, Parmesan, and 2 TBSP butter. Season with salt and pepper. Divide risotto between bowls or plates. Top with zucchini ribbons or serve them on the side, along with any remaining lemon quarters.