Risotto with pork and fennel sausage and burrata

Risotto with crumbled and fried sausages.
Risotto with crumbled and fried sausages. Photo: William Meppem

Italian-style pork and fennel sausages are a bit of a mainstay at my house. They're great grilled and served with mash or in a roll with sauerkraut, but I also love to use the meat just popped out of its casing. Crumbled and fried, it makes for a deliciously quick ragu and is stunning in a risotto. Please go to the effort of buying quality sausages from a good butcher, though; it makes all the difference.

Ingredients

2 litres chicken stock

extra virgin olive oil

300g pork and fennel sausages, skin removed

5 eschalots (French shallots) or 1 onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 fresh bay leaf

salt flakes

500g carnaroli, vialone nano or arborio rice

200ml dry white wine

3 handfuls of frozen peas, thawed under hot tap water

120g unsalted butter, diced

180g parmigiano reggiano or grana padano, finely grated

2 burrata, about 90g

Method

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan, then keep hot over a low heat.

2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a wide, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Crumble in the sausage meat and fry until golden (about 5 minutes), then remove from the pan.

3. Add a little more oil to the pan, along with the eschalot (or onion), garlic and bay leaf, season lightly with salt, then sweat until softened, but not caramelised (about 5 minutes). Return the sausage to the pan and add the rice, stirring constantly until the grains are hot to the touch (about 2 minutes), then add the wine. Stir until the wine has reduced to almost nothing, then add enough stock to cover. Stir until almost dry again, then repeat. If you run out of stock, use hot water.

4. Cook until the rice is al dente (15-20 minutes) and the risotto is loose, but not soupy. Stir through the peas. Turn off the heat and add the butter and parmesan. Whip the risotto quite vigorously with your spoon until creamy. Adjust the seasoning as needed and add a little more water or stock if needed (risotto should never be stiff). Stand for 2 minutes before serving.

5. Transfer to a serving dish or individual plates, tear over the burrata and serve.