I always look forward to Friday night; its arrival is inevitably welcome at the end of a long week, and as the day winds down, my focus shifts to the big question – what’s for dinner? If my husband and I don’t have plans, we usually opt for a low-key evening, either walking over to one of our favorite local restaurants, or staying in and cooking something that one (or both) of us has been craving.
On a recent Friday, my husband was quick to respond when I inquired, “what do you feel like doing for dinner?” “Risotto,” he replied decisively. I love making (and eating) risotto, so I was definitely on board. It can take a little more effort than we might be able to commit during the work week, which makes it a great choice for a Friday night. Risotto requires some regular attention while it’s cooking, a perfect excuse to pour ourselves a couple of glasses of wine and catch up on the day’s events while we keep an eye on dinner.
As far as what should go into the risotto, I racked my brain – and my cookbooks – for some inspiration, and decided to try Italian sweet sausage and fennel. Diced fennel makes a great addition to risotto – it imparts a subtle, mellow flavor and retains some bite even when its cooked. And together with the sausage, it made a hearty and comforting dish – perfect for an early autumn night. The base for this risotto recipe comes from a great class I took at the Ashburton Cookery School in the UK a few years back. I always refer to this recipe when I’m making a risotto. It’s a great reference for the basic ingredients, quantities and technique.
Since I was feeling ambitious, I also made dessert – molten chocolate cake – courtesy of another recipe I picked up during my cooking course at Ashburton. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe; the toughest part is nailing the cooking time. It can vary by several minutes depending on your oven, so it may take some trial and error. Don’t worry if you miss the mark the first time around and overcook them a bit – the result will be more cake and less molten, but it will still taste great.
I hope these recipes give you and your other half some inspiration for a delicious start to your weekend! Keep reading for the recipes…