Risotto with Sweet Italian Sausage and Vegetables

This dish was a bit out of my comfort zone, probably because of the sausage.  However, the flavors were nice and I loved the veggies, especially the crunchiness of the broccoli.  Enjoy!

-3 Tbs unsalted butter, divided
-1 head broccoli, trimmed and roughly chopped
-1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
-1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
-1 medium carrot, finely chopped
-1 cup long grain rice
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/3 cup apple juice
-2 cups chicken broth
– 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with jalapenos, undrained
-1 cup grated fontinella cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Heat 1 Tbs of the butter in a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot.  Add the broccoli and cook for about 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and set aside.
Return pot to the stove and add the sausage, onion and carrot.  Cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, for about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and garlic, and cook, stirring, 1 more minute.
Add the apple juice and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the broth, tomatoes and 1 cup water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Transfer the pot, with the lid on, to the preheated oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven (the risotto will be wet, but it will thicken with the additions).  Stir in the remaining 2 Tbs butter and the cheese, until melted and creamy.  Stir in the broccoli and enjoy!
Adapted from a Food Network recipe.

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