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Heirloom Recipes 5: Italian Sausage Risotto

When Iris left her childhood home in northern Italy to work in London she found she needed a place to share her happiest foodie discoveries, and so she began her blog Whatever Gets You Through The Day. For the latest installment of my heirloom recipe series, Iris shares her mother’s sausage risotto recipe, a fabulously unfussy meal that always makes her feel at home.

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Italian Sausage Risotto

I often catch myself saying that my mother is a lousy cook, but never without feeling stinging pangs of guilt! I tend to let her penchant for bland meals influence my judgement. Her habit of overcooking meat, and re-heating frozen food whenever possible, left a burning mark on my teenage memories, and yet I know I’m being unfair. I forget that she’s also capable of delectable culinary feats, usually when she hosts family lunches, and when her expatriate daughter’s pleading eyes beg for a taste of home. I forget about her ragù, better than any other I have tasted. I forget the puff pastry pies she taught me to make, fuelling one of many food addictions. I forget her flair for risotto recipes: flavoursome mains from our northern Italian tradition, forever reminding me of Sunday lunches back home.

Preparing for a family gathering could take my mum an entire morning, eliciting grumbles that made cooking seem like an utterly undesirable chore. As I made my first sausage risotto in a cramped north London kitchen, I understood that my mother chose it out of laziness, rather than from a will to impress. I can only imagine how relieved she felt when she realised that cooking isn’t all blood, sweat and tears! Mum’s sausage risotto is now a staple of my Sunday lunches too. Miles away from my mum, I sometimes wonder if she’s also sitting at the dining table, eating that very same dish: the perfect culinary equivalent of looking at the same star.

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Italian Sausage Risotto

Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pork sausages, diced (or 2 per person)
4 fistfuls Arborio rice (or 2 fistfuls per person)
1 glass white wine
1 1/2 – 2 pints chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper, to your taste
White pepper (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pot, then add the sausage. Cook until golden on the outside, and drain away any excess fat.

Add the rice and white wine and stir well. Leave on a low heat to cook until most of the white wine has been absorbed.

Pour in a ladle of chicken stock and stir gently. When the rice has soaked up most of the stock, pour in more and repeat until the rice is cooked through but retaining a little bite. Add larger quantities of stock at the beginning then pour less and less stock as time passes; you risk overcooking the rice if you add too much liquid at the later stages.

After the first 15 minutes, taste a few grains of rice before adding each helping of stock. The risotto should take about 20-25 minutes in total.

As the last helping of stock is absorbed, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately. Sprinkle with a little white pepper at the table if desired.

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About Chloe King

I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.

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13 comments on “Heirloom Recipes 5: Italian Sausage Risotto

  1. May 14, 2014 at 10:00 am

    ANOTHER wonderful post and about a subject that is close to my heart too! I adore Italian food and especially meatballs and sausage based recipes, so this recipe might find itself on the L&L menu one day! Karen

    • May 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Thank you Karen, love your post about your visit to Southwold, I just love the pier with all those crazy machines on it! Sounds like you had a wonderful break.

  2. May 14, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    What a beautiful post. I love to cook food that reminds me of family in other parts of the world. And such a tasty looking risotto too. I’ve never tried using sausage in risotto, but will certainly be doing so now.

    • May 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you Vanesther, I can’t wait to try it either. I guess the trick with a dish like this is to use the best sausages you can find 🙂

  3. May 14, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Love it, my sister loves in Italy and I had something similar there once, also sausage and courgette is a lovely risotto combo.

    • May 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Mmmm, that sounds fab Ren, must try it!

  4. May 14, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Chloe, thank you very much for hosting my recipe on your blog. It was a pleasure writing it for you, and I’m even more delighted to see that so many Italian food lovers are enjoying it too.

    My mum’s favourite tweak to the original recipe is adding sauteed Treviso red chicory when the risotto is almost ready. It’s a quite nice complement to the taste of the rice and sausage, although it may be harder to find in the UK. Let me know if you ever try this, with or without the extra ingredient 🙂

    • May 15, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      No – thank you Iris! I’m delighted to feature your mum’s recipe. Red chicory sounds like a wonderful addition too. I forgot to ask before, what type of sausage works best for this dish? (Or which is most authentic?)

      • May 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm

        Any pork sausage will work well. I find that the ones available in the UK tend to remain quite soft after cooking, which still suits the dish. However, if you can find a firmer sausage, that’s a plus, as it will contrast nicely with the softness of the rice. You can also use sausagemeat, which may be quicker to dice – my mum was very happy to discover that option!

  5. May 15, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I am not so good on risotto’s but would love to try this one. Esp with the sausage.

    • May 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks Bintu, I’m looking forward to featuring your jollof rice recipe 🙂

  6. May 21, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I love sausage in a risotto and as both sausages and rice are such comfort foods i can see why its exactly the type of recipe Iris and her mum love to make.

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