Saturday, August 13, 2011

More on Risotto... Sangiovese Farro Risotto

So if the risotto I made last time was a using up leftovers kind of meal, this one is definitely a notch or 2 higher, a bit fancier, a perfect Friday meal. It's the novelty of the farro, the way the wine makes the grains sing with flavor, the crunchy bitter of the rapini, the sweet of the onions, the fatty luxury of the sausage and the spicy essence of garlic and crushed red pepper, marrying together perfectly all in one bite. Without the farro, this favorite pasta dish is usually served with orecchiette, the little ear pasta... but I thought the richly wined farro would pair well with the broccoli rabe and accompaniments.
Delicious as well as colorful
The original recipe I saw for this called for Chianti, but in hitting up the wine store, I happened to taste a fun little sangiovese and decided that would suit just as well. Having had a late and interesting Thursday night, as well as a Friday chock full of fun work adventures, I was ready for home, for cooking up a quick meal, maybe some reading and then lights out at an early hour. This risotto was great because it only used about 3 cups of wine and a 1/2 cup of broccoli rabe blanching water and it was done. The vegetable and the sausage cooked up quickly as well. But all the unique flavors melding together into the meal made it seem like one could've easily slaved over the stove for hours, so a good recipe to keep in the back of your head when you need something special but quick.

Sangiovese Farro Risotto with Rapini and Italian Sausage
1 c. farro
3-4 c. sangiovese wine (or chianti, or another bright red)
1/2 -1 c. water, stock, etc- I used the leftover liquid from blanching the broccoli rabe
5 c. or 1 bushel broccoli rabe (rapini), chopped- after blanching the greens will drastically decrease in size
3 cloves garlic- finely sliced
2 links sweet or spicy Italian sausage
1 sweet onion- sliced
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 c. shaved piave
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook sausage links in a saute pan. In a large pot, boil salted water. Once water is boiling, add the broccoli rabe and leave in the water for 2-3 minutes. Remove, drain in a colander, reserve 1 cup of the liquid and immediately run cold water over the greens to stop the cooking process (this is known as blanching). Squeeze as much excess water from the rabe.

2. Once sausage is mostly cooked, remove from pan. Once it's rested, slice. In the large pot you cooked the rabe in, add 1 Tbl oil and toast the farro when the oil is hot. Once toasted add a cup of wine. Stir and let it absorb into the grain, and once almost fully absorbed, add another cup.

3. While that's cooking add the remaining Tbl oil to the saute pan and add in the sliced garlic and onion. Let cook until soft, then add the rabe and the crushed red pepper. Let it all brown and get a little crispy. Add in the sausage and let it all finish cooking.

4. The farro only needed 3 cups of wine and 1/2 cup of blanching liquid but taste and adjust accordingly. Shave in the piave to the farro and adjust for salt and pepper. Plate with the farro on the bottom, the sausage and vegetables over and a light shaving of piave on top.

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