1. Add a large frying pan to a high heat. Use a small knife to cut the casings of each sausage and remove the meat. Crumble into the pan (if your sausages don’t have a high fat content then add a small amount of oil first), and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the fat has rendered and the meat is nicely coloured and crispy in places. Drain any excess fat. Transfer to a tray with kitchen paper. Set aside.
2. Return the frying pan to a medium heat and add 60g of butter. Once foaming, add the sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 mins (or until they’re golden brown and completely dehydrated). Drain through a sieve and transfer to a tray with kitchen paper. Set aside.
3. While the mushrooms cook we can start the risotto. Add the chicken stock to a saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
4. Place a heavy-bottomed pan (for cooking the rice) on a medium heat. Add the remaining 40g of butter and the diced shallot. Sweat slowly for 6-8 mins, stirring regularly.
5. When the shallot is soft and translucent, add the rice and turn the heat up slightly. We want to toast the rice but it’s important not to burn the shallot. Stir regularly for about 2 mins, or until the edges of the grains become translucent.
6. Pour in the wine (use something you’d be happy to drink the rest of) and stir until it has evaporated. It should come to the boil quickly (taste after 90 seconds to see whether the alcohol has burnt off). Now add a generous pinch of sea salt (adding the salt before the wine can hinder how well the wine is absorbed).
7. Once the wine has evaporated, add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir regularly. Add enough to just cover the rice. Once the first ladle of stock has been absorbed, add another and repeat the process.
NOTE I: it’s important to add the stock a little at a time so that we don’t end up just boiling the rice. Doing it like this ‘agitates’ the rice so it releases its starch. This is what makes for the gorgeous creamy texture at the end.
NOTE II: it’s also important to scrape down the sides of the pan with your spatula. This ensures all the rice is cooking together as any grains left on the side would cook a lot more slowly and not be very pleasant if mixed in at the end.
8. Keep stirring as you add the stock. Adjust the temp as needed so that the rice is simmering gently. Your rice should have a creamy texture, and still be al dente, about 16-20 mins after adding the first ladle of stock.
9. You can test grains as you go to see how they change in texture with the cooking. Just make sure you don’t cook the rice for so long that it loses its bite. Check the seasoning levels too and add any salt you need (a lot will depend on how much salt is in your original stock).
10. Add in the sausage meat and mushrooms. Stir through. Check the consistency, adding extra stock or water to loosen things if necessary. Now remove the pan from the heat. The risotto should be fairly liquidy at this stage, but the next step will thicken it slightly and bring it together.
11. Add your mascarpone and beat rigorously with a spatula or by tossing the pan. When fully incorporated, add in the grated parmesan and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Beat again.
NOTE: it’s important to do this off the heat so your mascarpone emulsifies into the sauce without splitting. Heating parmesan too much also produces an unpleasant grainy texture.
12. Cover your pan with a tea towel and allow the risotto to rest for 2 mins. Stir through the chopped parsley. Divide between warmed plates and finish with a few shavings of parmesan.