Roommates and Risotto

The past six weeks have been difficult, and I haven’t had the chance, or the inspiration, to post here much. I wasn’t cooking much, since I was away from my kitchen while my longtime boyfriend and I decided to part ways and he looked for a new place to live. Now I’m back (he’s found his new place) and I’m going to try and do more cooking and more posting. I’ve been here cleaning and re-nesting all week, and stocking my cupboards full of food. This little Brooklyn nest only holds two birds now, and it feels rather large and empty. So won’t you all come over and let me cook you dinner? I always find it hard not to cook for a crowd. The dinners I cooked all last year were always too big for two, and now I’m trying to figure out how on earth I’m ever going to cook for one. My roommate Joe and I don’t usually share food or meals, but maybe he’ll let me cook for him more now. (I really don’t think pretzels and mustard count as a full dinner Joe.) Joe and I spent Tuesday evening scrubbing and dusting and moving furniture. Once the place started to sparkle and smell of lemon soap, I went into the kitchen and made a bit of a new mess and a meal that was, surprisingly enough, the perfect size for the two of us. As the freshly clean apartment filled with the scent of onions cooking in butter and I settled into stirring my pot of risotto, I realized how glad I was to be home in my kitchen again.

Risotto with Sausage and Peas for Two

2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs. butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
¾ cup Aroborio rice
½ cup white wine
½ cup frozen baby peas, thawed
2 spicy Italian sausages, cooked and finely chopped
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil

Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan; reduce heat, cover, and keep at a bare simmer.
Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 mins.
Add rice and cook, stirring, until the rice starts to look transparent, about 1 min.
Add wine, bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Add about ½ cup stock and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be fully absorbed before adding the next until the rice is tender and creamy looking, about 20 minutes.
Stir in peas, chopped sausage, cheese, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. If necessary, thin risotto with some extra stock.
Serve immediately, garnished with basil.