Nothing gives one the feeling of culinary accomplishment like the perfect consistency on a risotto. The alchemy of creamy and tender brought on by stirring to perfection… every bite is full of pride. This rice wonder is an especially flavorful bounty; tomato and Asiago flavor the risotto, which is topped with kale, onion, and Italian sausage. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and on the tummy for a delicious meal well eaten.
Halve and peel onion. Slice halves into thin strips. Stem kale and coarsely chop. Mince garlic. Coarsely chop sun-dried tomatoes. Pat Italian sausage links dry.
Sear the Sausage
Heat another medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and sausage links to hot pot. Cook until browned on two sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to one half of prepared baking sheet. Reserve pot; no need to wipe clean.
Roast the Vegetables and Sausage
On other half of baking sheet, toss onion and kale with 2 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer and roast until onion is tender and sausage links reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, 10-12 minutes. Rest sausages until cool enough to handle, then cut into ½" slices on an angle. While vegetables and sausage roast, make risotto.
Start the Risotto
Return pot used to sear sausage to medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp. olive oil, Arborio rice, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes to hot pot. Stir constantly until rice is lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup boiling water. Rice should just be covered by water. Stir constantly until nearly all water is absorbed, 4-6 minutes.
Finish the Risotto
Add ½ cup boiling water and stir until water is nearly all absorbed. Continue adding ½ cup water and stirring constantly, repeating the process until risotto has no more "bite" or crunch, 18-20 minutes. There may be water left over. Taste as you cook, checking for tenderness. Remove pot from burner and stir in Asiago and tomato paste. Season with a pinch of salt.
Finish the Dish
Place a serving of risotto in a shallow bowl. Top with roasted vegetables and sausage. Garnish with red pepper flakes (to taste).