Turkey Sausage Risotto

Hello, my babies!

I have been neglecting you. And for that I’m (wait for it, it happens once a year) truly sorry. But you see, I’ve been flitting around the world meeting a lot of you in person at various conventions/pop culture expos/bar stools, and it’s taken me this long to have a day with a nice chunk of time to say hello. And, more importantly, to feed you.

It’s gotten rather brisk here in Vancouver, which means the shorts and open-toed YSL’s have been packed away for fall.  Everybody seems to be fighting the same cold, because Vancouver is small and we all have a tendency of making out with each other at some point but I digress. We’re all feeling rather domesticated and holing up at home in our sweatpants craving comfort food, and I’ve always thought the ultimate Italian comfort food was a nice warm bowl of risotto.

Risotto’s one of these gals that seems to intimidate people into thinking she’s difficult, but really she just needs to be nurtured and paid attention to and wined and dined and given a nice bouquet of flowers just because once in awhile and oh wait that’s me, nevermind.  The best part about risotto is that once you master the very simple technique, you can literally add pretty much anything to it and turn it into a completely different dish from week to week. It feeds a crowd on the cheap so it’s a great dinner party dish, but do like I do and ham up how long you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen (even though we know better) and make everyone refer to you as “Chef”. Or “Queen Chef.”  Or “Your majesty.” Whichever.

Because it’s fall, and because I found some beautiful free-range organic turkey sausage at the farmer’s market as well as some amazing chanterelle mushrooms (what a nerd), this is a decidedly filling and woodsy take on a risotto. If you can’t find turkey sausage, do what I do and whip up your own: mix 1lb ground turkey in a bowl with half a teaspoon each of ground fennel, ground thyme, ground sage, a dash of red pepper flakes, salt, and lots of black pepper. Look at you, Chef!



1 lb bulk turkey sausage (if all you can find is the links, remove the casings)

2 strips of bacon, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 lb chanterelle mushrooms (these are yellow in color and delicate and so pretty, but if you can’t find these, criminis will work well), stems removed and sliced

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup frozen peas

4 cups chicken broth or stock

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup white wine (as always, make this a white you would actually drink, and stick to something a little drier, like pinot grigio)

couple large handfuls of grated romano cheese

1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes

salt and pepper



Heat your chicken broth or stock in a pot over medium-low so it’s nice and warm.

Heat a large deep skillet with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over high heat. Brown the turkey sausage for a few minutes, breaking it up with a spoon as you go. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. Add the bacon and cook until browned, and then add to the bowl of sausage, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.

Turn the heat down to medium on the skillet and add another tbsp of olive oil to the bacon fat. Add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and red pepper flakes, and sautee until the onions are translucent, about five minutes. Add the arborio rice and season with salt and pepper. Toast the rice in the pan for a few minutes, then add the white wine and stir and stir and stir. This is the trick with risotto: keep stirring. It’s going to soak up that wine pretty quickly (just like me!) so once that’s gone, slowly add in a ladle full of warm chicken stock and stir again. Once the liquid evaporates, add another ladle of stock and stir. This whole process is a little time consuming, but it takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and it’s worth it.  Once your stock is all gone, taste the risotto to see if the rice is cooked. It should be velvety and smooth, not grainy, so if it has too much bite to it, add a ladle of warm water and stir it in and keep tasting until it’s finished. Risotto has a mind of its own, and it needs more or less liquid every time, so don’t be afraid to taste.

Once the rice is cooked, stir in the frozen peas and the turkey sausage and bacon and let everything warm through. Turn the heat off the risotto and stir in the cheese and butter. Taste for seasoning and add more or less if you need it.

Sprinkle the risotto with a little extra cheese just before serving and drizzle with a little dash of extra virgin olive oil just to richen it up even more, because you can never be too rich.


17 Comments Add yours

  1. Nicole says:

    I am so all over this recipe!

  2. Krystal says:

    This sounds and looks delish! I’ve only made risotto once and kind of messed it up… it was the whole paying close attention to it thing, I think. But I shall try it again as this seems too good to pass up. And I think I would go with “queen chef”, it just has a nice ring to it. 🙂

  3. Nannig says:

    I love your combination of ingredients, sounds yummy!
    As for the rice I used arborio rice a lot at first and then bought some carnaroli rice in Italy… and I find it so much better ! So I don’t know if you haved had a chance to try it it but if not it’s my advice 🙂

  4. Oh man! That sounds amazing. I love making new risotto recipes! Definitely going to try that one.

    One day, I shall meet you at a con and we’ll talk food. Because that’s the language of friendship, amiright?

    Also, I’m totally going to be Kaylee for Halloween! SO Excited!

  5. Doug Murphy says:

    I’m sorry, but there is no such thing as “turkey sausage”

  6. diane says:

    Serves TWO? Yikes, those are pretty big servings.

    Who am I kidding – I would happily eat the entire thing all by my lonesome (lonesome so there is no possibility of having to share)(well, unless you ever come to Milwaukee, in which case I’ll have you over to dinner and I’ll share).

    The cheese adds a good bit of saltiness; I usually aim for an under seasoned taste just before I add it. I make a “springtime” risotto that has grilled salmon added as well as little peas and a bit of onion.

  7. LMG says:

    one of my specialties. You can sneak a bit of cream in there at the end, and I wont tell.

    Also, fresh peas and lemon zest (maybe leeks or shallots) is an excellent side for salmon. Lots of mushrooms and onions in a beef stock is good with steak. A couple handfuls of baby spinach barely wilted makes it seem healthy.

    Beets make it turn pink for Valentines Day – or 4-year old princesses (god forbid).

  8. Kerim says:

    Risotto…need we say more?….Now I’m hungry

  9. Drew says:

    And for risotto leftover, risotto al salto! Add one beaten egg per one cup of risotto, put one tbls of butter in a hot pan, and press one cup (plus egg, already combined) and let cook until browned. Remove to a plate, add another tbsp of butter an repeat on other side. Sprinkle with grated parm and indulge (b/c it’s so tasty you can already forget about all that butter. What butter?) 🙂

  10. BeRKA says:

    Now I just have to try this. (But without the peas.)

  11. Carrie says:

    I’m going to make this for my kids!

  12. Daniel says:

    It was lovely to meet you and spend the weekend working for you in Portland, Ms. S. The risotto sounds delicious – I can hardly wait to try it. Cheers!

  13. Phil says:

    you had me at “tendency to make out with each other”… oh wait…this was about risotto not moving to Vancouver…

    I usually add just a bit of heavy cream at the end for a bit more mouth seduction…

  14. Warren says:

    This turned out really well. I paired it with acorn squash pureed with butter and some roasted garlic.

  15. Gina says:

    Man, this looks amazing! I’m heading to the store to go shopping for ingredients! This is my Friday night splurge with a good vodka! Can’t wait! 🙂

  16. Gryph (@GryphonMage) says:

    I haven’t made one of your recipes before, but this was AMAZING and I have already had half a dozen people ask me for the recipe! I made it on the first really cold night and snuggled into my big chair with a nice bowl of it. I couldn’t find turkey sausage though, so I just bought ground turkey and mixed up my own!

  17. Kim W. says:

    “If you can’t find turkey sausage, do what I do and whip up your own: mix 1lb ground turkey in a bowl with half a teaspoon each of ground fennel, ground thyme, ground sage, a dash of red pepper flakes, salt, and lots of black pepper.”




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