Tomato based risotto with smoked sausage, sweet red peppers and courgettes topped with marinated feta

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This is the first time I’ve ever attempted a tomato based risotto and it was wolfed down so I’d call it a success. I cannot take any of the credit because it was inspired by a meal cooked for me by my good friend Dani taken from Ottolenghi’s vegetarian recipe using pearl barley. She nailed it and we enjoyed it with caipirinhas, bit of a mix of continents but it was sensational. I searched everywhere for pearl barley or graupe as its know here but to no avail so it has been heavily adapted to accommodate normal risotto rice.
I simply modified the proportions of stock and started like a normal risotto then adding the tomatoes and plenty of puree to deepen the flavour. I fried off the smoked sausage in tiny cubes, allowing all the oils to come out and added that along with the courgette pepper cubes.
It wasn’t possible to find some of the herbs in the recipe for the feta so I just melted it in a pan with some oregano and thyme. This is what makes the recipe, the creamy richness of the feta with the smoky sausage and sweet vegetables and rich tomato is great. I would definitely use a tomato base for a risotto again. I had a salty one in Lima, Peru with fresh seafood and some cerviche so maybe next time I’ll give that a go.

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