Italian Sausage and Red Pepper Risotto

Can we talk about how much I love parmesan cheese? For the first 20 or so years of my life, my only real conception of parmesan cheese was the green shaker bottle we used on pizza night. Perfectly delicious in its own right, but when I started spending more time in the kitchen, I discovered what you all have probably known about for years – green shaker bottle is not parmesan cheese’s natural state. For me, this discovery was somewhat on par with man’s discovery of fire or the invention of Tivo. Total game changer.

After learning this, I began specifically seeking out recipes that used shredded, non-green-shaker parmesan cheese. Specifically (and here’s where my personal issues really become clear), I started looking for recipes that called for SMALL amounts of parmesan cheese, so that there would be lots of leftover cheese in the fridge for sneaksnack purposes (i.e., when you go to the kitchen under the guise of getting a glass of water or doing the dishes but also grab a pinch of cheese, spoonful of peanut butter, etc.). I do the same thing with recipes that call for wine — ideally, one tablespoon of wine. If I ever found a recipe that called for one tablespoon of wine and one tablespoon of parmesan cheese, I would no doubt serve it to my husband, pretend I wasn’t hungry, and then spend the rest of the night “doing the dishes,” a.k.a., munching on cheese and sipping on wine.

Well, friends, this recipe may be as close as I’ll ever get. I mean, it’s crazy delicious on its own, but look at that ingredient list. A fourth a cup parmesan cheese? Two tablespoons of wine? Amazing. Perfect. Cue the fat lady. I am done.

ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND RED PEPPER RISOTTO (recipe from Home is Where the Holmans Are)

2 links mild Italian sausage, casings removed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cups Arborio rice
1 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
pepper to taste
2 tbsp white wine
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
chopped parsley, for garnish

  1. Simmer chicken broth in small saucepan over medium heat (or microwave to keep warm).
  2. Heat skillet to medium heat and add butter. Add sausage and break up as it browns, cooking about five minutes. Add garlic, red pepper and onion and cook about eight minutes, until onions are softened. Add pepper and rice, stirring to coat. Add wine and cook until liquid is almost all evaporated, about one minute.
  3. Add chicken broth, one ladle at a time, to rice mixture, stirring almost constantly. When the liquid is almost completely absorbed, add another ladle full. Repeat until all the broth has been added to the rice mixture. This will take 20-30 minutes. When all broth has been absorbed, remove from heat and add parmesan cheese, stirring to combine. Garnish with chopped parsley and additional cheese. Serve immediately.

I’d tell you how much we liked this, but I’m too busy eating handfuls of parmesan cheese and gulping white wine in the kitchen. Sorry folks.

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