Sausage and Spinach or Wild Garlic Risotto

This is a very good recipe to remember when you are short on sausages but have several to feed. Only seven went into this feast for four but they were big, meaty sausages with a low fat content. I browned them first, cut them into bite-size chunks, adding them towards the end of making a thyme-flavoured risotto, the whole finished with baby spinach that melted against the sloppier than usual rice. It doesn’t need cheese and is good with a glass or two of red.

Serves 4

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 40 min

7 meaty pork sausages, approx 500g

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion

25g butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

few sprigs thyme or ¼ tsp dried

250g risotto rice

half a glass red or white wine

1 litre hot chicken stock

150g baby spinach or generous handful wild garlic

     Brown the sausages over a medium-low heat in a frying pan, allowing at least 15 minutes, turning when crusty. You want them virtually cooked through. Transfer to a plate to cool. Meanwhile, halve, peel and finely chop the onion and soften in the butter melted in 1 tbsp olive oil in a spacious, lidded sauté/frying pan. Peel and finely chop the garlic and stir it into the softened onion with chopped fresh thyme (or dried). Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes, fold in the rice, stirring so all the grains are toasted and glossy with buttery oil. Add the wine and let it bubble up into the rice and virtually disappear. Have the stock at simmering point in a separate pan and add a couple of ladlesful, stirring as it is absorbed into the rice. Continue thus until the rice is virtually cooked (swollen but with a chalky bite at the centre) and you have a couple of ladlesful of stock left. Cut the sausage into small bite-size chunks and add to the risotto, letting it heat through and merge with the rice. When the sausage is hot, stir in the spinach, adding more stock if you think it necessary; you can see from the photo that I kept it sloppy. When the spinach has wilted. Cover the pan, remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes before serving.