This past month I have prepared risotto three times; that's 3 more times than I've made risotto the entire last year! I'm a huge fan of risotto but never find the urge to prepare it for myself. This all changed once I thought of a new way to prepare this Italian dish. Traditionally, you need rice, white wine, stock, and cheese to make risotto. While watching a cooking episode about beer dishes, I thought, "why not prepare risotto with beer instead of the white wine?" I attempted the recipe and was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. I present beer risotto with spicy sausage and gouda!
Beer Risotto with Sausage and Gouda
- 1 tbsp oil
- 8 ounces spicy sausage sliced
- ½ medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 12 oz pale ales or light brown ales but not IPA stouts or bitter beers
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ cup grated gouda cheese
- salt and pepper
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Pour the chicken stock in a medium sauce pot. Keep warm over low heat.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add the sliced sausage and saute until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add chopped onion and garlic to the same pan. Saute until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the rice and saute for 1-2 minutes or until there is a slightly nutty aroma.
- Add half of the beer and stir until it is fully absorbed. Add the remaining beer and stir until it is fully absorbed. Add a ladle of the chicken stock and cook until fully absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue adding the stock in increments once the rice appears almost dry. Cook until the rice appears creamy and is al dente, about 20-30 minutes total.
- Stir in 1 tbsp butter and the grated gouda cheese. Add back the sausages. Season risotto with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you ever watched Top Chef or Hell's Kitchen, you will recognize that risotto is one of the most difficult dishes for chefs to accomplish. It requires a slow cooking process to evenly cook the rice and can easily be under or over-cooked. Don't let these qualities derail you from attempting to prepare this dish at home! If you take your time and follow my hints, your risotto will come out perfect every time.
The first step, heat the chicken broth. Adding hot broth to the rice keeps a constant temperature, shortening the cooking process. When you’re ready to cook, use a heavy-bottomed saucepan or straight-sided saute pan to allow even cooking.
While cooking the risotto, use a wooden spoon to stir the rice. A wooden spoon is less likely to break the grains of the rice as opposed to a metal spoon.
Most recipes call for about ¼-1/2 cup white wine; however, for my beer risotto, I decided to increase the amount of beer and decrease the amount of stock. I wanted the flavor of the beer to be more prominent than the stock. Choose a pale ale or amber ale to complement the flavors of the beer risotto. Stay away from dark beers, stouts, and IPAs that are too bitter. Their bitterness will be pronounced when cooked and ruin the entire dish.
The standard ratio of rice to liquid is 1 cup rice to 3-4 cups liquid; adjust accordingly as you cook your rice. As the rice absorbs the liquid, it releases its starches and will become oh so creamy. Be careful when seasoning with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the sausage is already salty. You can use a spicy sausage as I did or use sweet Italian, Andouille, chicken apple, whatever you prefer.
When I first took a bite out of the risotto, I was surprised at just how delicious it was. The smoky, spicy sausage cut the heaviness of the dish, while the rich, smooth gouda brought the entire dish together. The beer added a nutty element while the rice was perfect al dente. Wash it down with another glass of beer for a real treat!
For more Italian food inspiration check out this amatriciana pasta!