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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hot Italian Sausage And Crimini Mushroom Rissoto With Whole Braised Fennel, Home Made Tomato Sauce.

I found these big beautiful fennel bulbs in the grocery aisle the other day. They were fresh and crispy and not too expensive. Normally you cut these in halves or quarters , take the outer strings off just like celery and either grill or saute them. I have never done them whole before but they came out great. I peeled them, blanched them and braised them in the oven with white wine and fresh chicken. Halfway through the cooking I covered them with aluminum foil to stop them from getting too much color. It was almost a meal in itself. A light drizzle of olive oil finished it off.
The rissoti is just a regular risotto made with arborio rice. This was a makey up risotto. I didn't buy anything for it and just used what I had in the fridge. I used arborio rice which is important for this dish. You can put anything you like in risotto really.
Tomato sauce: I slowly cooked a little diced carrot, onion and celery in some olive oil and when they were cooked I added some white wine and a dash of vinegar. This was reduced till dry and then I added three garlic cloves. I then added some tomato paste ( important that it be paste ) and cooked it for a few minute. Then I added a little flour to keep the whole thing together and finally some chicken stock. Cook it out for as long as you like, add a pinch of sugar at the end, season and strain.
Always remember to use thyme and bay leaf for these types of sauces.
Take away the sausage and you have a vegetarian dinner.

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