Bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen tonight with this hearty Sausage Risotto. It's hearty, protein-rich, and brimming with savory flavor.
A hearty Northern Italian-inspired dish, this Sausage Risotto is ultimate comfort food that will satisfy from the inside out!
The preparation of this dish takes a bit more attention, but the cooking process is relaxing as well. Just turn on your favorite music, pour a glass of your favorite wine, and enjoy some self-care time in the kitchen.
In this head-spinning year that we're in, is there anywhere you've been itching to travel?
Anywhere, you just can't wait 'til the day you can visit, whether it be the first time or again?
The kind of place you literally dream about, scheme about, read every article, and binge every travel show about? That goal destination that drives you to go down deep Youtube rabbit holes -- finding every travel vlog known to man about the place?
No?? Not you?? Ok, I get it. As you might've read around here, food/wine/travel/running/dog obsessions are kind of my thing. It can be a bit dizzying endeavor to keep up with.
But I promise this rabbit trail will be worth it.
After all, there's great views, amazing culture, and delicious food. Oh, and world class wines, beautiful people, and a melodious language.
Where we're going today? Italy. How we're going there? Sausage risotto. Why the trip? Because why not bolster ourselves by experiencing a rich centuries-old culture that has mastered their food, pioneered the arts, and is all about family and friends?
As much of a mental break it can be to look forward to and plan for the days we can travel again someday. And as much as I love to watch travel vlogs about the Almafi coast, Italy's Northern lake region, or the Sicilian Islands (to name just a few). I also have to live in the present and do my best to experience little bits of life and culture here and now.
And so, when listening to an Italian podcast a few months ago, one of the hosts shared an overview of the Northern Italian risotto dish her mother makes when she goes home to Piemonte.
With carrots, red wine, beans, and sausage, it was a bit different than the common risotto enjoyed here in the States. And because of my aforementioned desire for newness, I jumped right into testing out it out for myself.
4 or 5 iterations later and I landed on my favorite interpretation of the dish. With tender rice, earthy carrots, rich rich red wine, hearty chicken sausage, nutty garbanzo beans, and just enough parmesan cheese to finish, this northern Italian risotto dish (or "Risotto alla Salsiccia") has been a hit with everyone who's tried it.
So come with me, on a trip we can go while still staying where we are, and get a culinary and mental boost. A lift that will remind us of good things to come and the cultures we can enjoy from afar.
This sausage risotto recipe is...
- Cooking therapy
- ... One of my favorite comfort foods
Whether you're making this dish to unwind after a day of work, treating your family to the meal for Sunday dinner, or impressing friends at a dinner party, this dish is sure to delight and satisfy even your pickiest of diners.
- Arborio rice -- or any other type of Italian risotto rice (like carnaroli)
- Beef broth -- adds the best flavor to the risotto; you can use chicken broth if in a pinch
- Italian Chicken Sausage -- we want raw bulk or de-cased sausage for this recipe, not the pre-cooked sausage variety
- Olive oil
- Red wine -- a dry red wine is what you want for this recipe. See my notes below on specific recommendations!
- Garbanzo beans -- a 15 oz. can of beans, drained and rinsed
- Grated parmesan cheese -- we'll be stirring the cheese in and you can also garnish the rice with extra cheese if you wish.
- Broth -- as I mentioned above, you can substitute in chicken broth if you are in a pinch. The beef broth, if you have it, does add superior flavor, however.
- Sausage -- bulk or de-cased raw Italian pork sausage can work in place of the chicken sausage. It will add extra fat and calories, however, if that is a concern for you.
- Beans -- kidney beans and cannellini beans can work in place of the garbanzo beans. Drain and rinse them before adding to the dish.
How to make the best sausage risotto:
What is risotto?
Risotto is an Italian rice dish that is cooked over low heat as broth or liquid is consistently stirred in. The dish is creamy, savory, and can be made with a variety of cheeses, vegetables, and meats.
What rice do you use for risotto?
You want to use Italian risotto rice for this recipe. The most common one here in the States is arborio rice. If you are in Europe or Italy or somewhere else that carries a wider variety of rice, you can also use Vialone Nano and Carnaroli rice.
Where do you buy arborio rice?
What makes sausage risotto unique?
This sausage risotto recipe is different from traditional cheese risotto in a few ways:
- It uses red wine instead of white wine
- We mix beans into the risotto
- We use beef broth instead of chicken broth
- The recipe calls for carrots (as well as traditional onions)
What wine is best for this recipe?
The best wine for this recipe is a dry red wine. The flavors of the wine show up directly in the recipe so you want to use a wine that you would drink, not a "cooking wine."
Here are a few of my favorite dry wines to use in this recipe:
- Cabernet sauvignon
- ... and almost any other full-flavored dry red wines!
Is this risotto gluten-free?
Yes, as long as your broth is gluten-free this recipe will naturally be gluten-free. So, check your broth ingredient list and you will be good to go!
Can you double or triple this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely double or triple this recipe! Make sure your pans are large enough to accommodate your increased volume and know that cooking time will take longer (as you need the rice to absorb more broth), but it is possible to do.
How do you make sausage risotto?
Below are my illustrated instructions on how to make this risotto. For the specific measurements and complete instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Heat up the broth in a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Saute the onion, carrots, and Italian sausage in a 12" deep saute pan or dutch oven, crumbling as you cook, until the sausage is cooked through.
- Add the rice in with the meat and veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the rice smells nutty and starts to turn golden.
- Pour the red wine into the pan, and stir the rice until most of the wine has evaporated.
- Add one ladle of the warm broth to the rice and stir the rice until it absorbs.
- Continue adding broth, 1 ladle at a time, stirring until the broth has absorbed, and then repeating until only 1 ladle remains.
- Add the last ladle of broth with salt, pepper, garbanzo beans, and parmesan cheese. Stir in until the broth is absorbed and the cheese is melted.
- Serve the risotto hot, with additional parmesan cheese to garnish, if desired. Enjoy!!
Tips to make the perfect risotto every time:
- Stir it constantly - risotto is a bit of a higher maintenance recipe because you need to stir it all throughout the cooking time. It will be worth it, though! Stirring keeps the rice from burning and makes the dish extra creamy.
- Never let it dry out -- once you start adding liquids to the pan you want to make sure they never dry out. This will also help keep the dish from burning. As soon as the liquids have absorbed, stir in more broth.
- Keep warm broth next to the risotto pan -- we want to keep the broth warm throughout the cooking time. This helps to speed up the cooking process and keep the dish creamy. I like to keep the broth on the back burner and cook the risotto on the front burner so it's super easy to ladle the broth into the rice as I need to.
- Don't use "cooking wine" -- the wine is a big part of the flavor of this dish so we will taste the quality of whatever wine you use in the recipe. That said, cooking wine isn't usually a good option because it doesn't have good flavor. Do yourself a favor and open a nice dry red. Whatever you don't use for the recipe you can enjoy while you cook and with your meal. 🙂
- Have all your ingredients prepped ahead of time -- this recipe is the most successful when you have your ingredients prepped ahead of time. So, get them all measured out and sitting by the stovetop so you can easily access and add them to the pan when you need them.
How do you serve sausage risotto?
Sausage risotto is a hearty and filling dish on its own. To round out the meal I like to serve it with any of these side dishes or beverages:
- Sautéed zucchini
- A green salad
- Roasted broccoli
- Garlic bread
- Dry red wine -- cabernet sauvignon, chianti, merlot, or your other favorite wine. Possible even the leftovers of whatever you cooked with!
- Sparkling water
How long does sausage risotto last?
Leftover risotto keeps covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
For best reheating results, reheat it in the microwave at 60-70% power for 1-minute increments for every serving you are reheating, stirring the risotto between increments.
This risotto can keep frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Defrost the risotto for 18-24 hours in the refrigerator before reheating gradually (as listed above) in the microwave.
Tools needed to make this dish:
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Measuring cups & spoons
- 11 or 12" deep saute pan or dutch oven
- Wooden stirring spoon
- Veggie peeler
More Italian inspired recipes:
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (Red Pesto)
- Turkey Bolognese
- Pumpkin Risotto
- Sausage Sheet Pan & Veggies
- Chicken Bolognese
- Instant Pot Beef Ragu
- Baked Italian Sausage Casserole with Ricotta Cheese
- Instant Pot Risotto
- Healthy Turkey Meatball Recipe
- Zucchini Lasagna
- Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce
- Basil Pesto Spaghetti Squash Pasta
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