Sausage, Asparagus, and Mushroom Risotto with wine pairing

risotto wine pairing

Yummy – Sausage, Asparagus, and Mushroom Risotto.

So, my risotto lesson with Denise was a huge success. It’s now a dish heavily in demand at my home. So, I’m having some fun creating favorite risotto recipes.

Round One: Sausage, Asparagus, and Mushroom Risotto

Week one, Denise took me through her fail-proof risotto method with what I had on hand: sausage and asparagus. We had to improvise with dried mushrooms since I didn’t have fresh. Denise took me through soaking and later incorporating that liquid into the main broth.

Then, the next week I went it alone. Since the kiddo is obsessed with sausage, I stuck with that. And, for the veg, I did zucchini in lieu of asparagus. I basically cooked them the same way as the asparagus, so it made a super simple – and yummy – adjustment. This time I had fresh mushrooms, so it was fun to do slightly different in that way and of course, I then used more broth since I didn’t have the dried mushroom soaking liquid.

Learning Denise’s Best Risotto Method has me excited to play around with this dish and risotto wine pairing.

best basic risotto recipe
The Best Basic Risotto Method: Technique & Formula
There are two things that make Risotto so different from any other rice or pilaf dish in the world. The first is the rice itself. Even here in the heart of a major rice-growing region with five levels of short-grain rice, we focus on only one level with only two rice types used for risotto. Superfino is the level and the two types within that level are Arborio and Canaroli. 
The second differentiator is the technique to make the best basic risotto recipe. My failproof technique follows below.
There are two different risotto styles. Here in Piedmont, we prefer a risotto mantecato or mounted. which gives you a creamy almost saucy risotto at the end. Other places in Northern Italy forego the mounting for a drier risotto. Whichever style you prefer, it is important you use the correct type of rice. And, if you follow my formula below, you will become a master risotto maker in no time. 
Risotto is a very versatile dish, even if the procedure is quite strict. While Italians often only add one element to the rice and the broth, it’s fun to elaborate and add a couple of other elements for a more complex dish. But, don’t overdo it. I prefer more complex risotto with an interesting twist -- perhaps adding an unexpected ingredient. More than two or three elements may muddle it from an Italian sensibility point-of-view. You absolutely want to be able to appreciate the uniqueness of the rice itself and the quality of the broth, which are fundamental. 
Check out this recipe

Tips to make your own favorite risotto recipes lesson with the goodies in your kitchen:

  • Don’t stress fresh mushrooms – just make sure that dried mushrooms is on your pantry essentials list. Do the simple soak (it takes about an hour) and keep the liquid to finish the risotto. Denise explained that a small handful is all you need for a basic risotto recipe.
  • Denise’s risotto method is strict but gives you lots of flavor opportunities. But, she cautions not to do too many ingredients. Less is more and you want to truly savor the broth and rice. 
  • Slice and dice the ingredients about bit-sized for ease-of-chomping.
  • Using farro, as we have added as a variation here, is great for those cannot each white rice because of blood sugar issues or concerns.
  • Finish the risotto off the heat to get the best, most creamy sauce

After the Sausage, Asparagus, and Mushroom risotto recipe, read on for risotto wine pairing tips.


Sausage, Asparagus, and Mushroom Risotto

Here we use asparagus and sausage, but you can easily adjust for more favorite risotto recipes.
Servings: 4



  • 1 cup risotto rice – most preferably arborio or canaroli, but really any short grain rice will do in a pinch.
  • 1 large shallot finely minced or ½ small yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced or grated
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil


  • ¾ liter broth or stock
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 cup mushroom soaking liquid; if not using dried mushrooms increase the main broth by 1 cup

Additions to finish the Sausage, Mushrooms, and Asparagus risotto

  • cup dried mushrooms soaked in 1.5 cup boiling water for about an hour, drained but keep the soaking water to add to risotto at the end of the cooking time (Strain the soaking liquid to remove any sand that was attached to the mushrooms. Use a very fine strainer lined with moistened muslin or coffee filter.)
  • 1 cup fresh button or cremini mushrooms, sliced

Finishing the risotto

  • 2 TBS cold butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmiggiano


  • If using dried mushrooms, begin an hour or so earlier by soaking the dried mushrooms in boiling water. Let them soak for an hour or so, then drain the mushroom and chop coarsely. Set aside. Strain the water through a moistened piece of muslin placed in a fine strainer. Keep the soaking water to add at the end.
  • Start your prep by mincing the onion and garlic very finely. Set aside.
  • Prep the asparagus by washing well, then remove the tough lower stem and slicing on the diagonal into bite-size pieces about an inch long.
  • Remove the sausage from the casing and break up a little bit with your hands.
  • Slice the mushrooms if using fresh ones.
  • In a dutch oven, like a Le Creuset or other heavy-bottomed rondeau, add 2 TBS of olive oil and heat on medium. Add the onions and garlic and sweat for about 7 or 8 minutes, stirring very often to make sure they don’t brown at all. The onions and garlic should be translucent when they are done.
  • Add the rice to the pan, turning the heat up to medium-high. Toast the rice for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn the heat down a bit if any onions begin to brown.
  • Add the ½ cup of white all at once. The wine should sizzle well. If not, turn up the heat a bit. Let the wine almost evaporate.
  • SET YOUR TIMER TO 16 MINUTES. Now you begin to add the hot broth: add 2 ladle fulls of broth equal to about 1 to 1.5 cups. Stir well and let the rice cook at a fast simmer but not violently. Stir once or twice to make sure the rice is not sticking. If it seems to be, turn the heat down a tad and loosen with a splash of broth.
  • In the meantime, heat a sauté pan on high with about 1 TBS of olive oil, quickly sautè the asparagus, stirring it vigorously so they don’t brown too much. Cook for 1 minute.  Transfer to a plate and salt lightly.
  • When the rice absorbs almost all of the broth, add another 2 ladles full of broth and repeat the steps above: stir well then allow the rice to cook, stirring a couple of times to make sure the rice is not sticking. Adjust the heat to make sure the broth is simmering well, not too slow but not too violently. Take a look at how much time you have left on the timer. You should be about halfway, maybe a little more. Generally, you add broth to the rice four times with a little leftover to mount the butter, cheese, and to moisten the rice after adding the sausage and vegetables.
  • While the rice cooks this second time, take the sautè pan used for the asparagus, heat again on high. Add the sausage when hot, breaking it into bite-size pieces. When the sausage begins to brown, add the mushrooms and brown lightly, stirring often to limit browning. Turn down the heat if needed. When done, transfer to a second plate and set aside.
  • A good part of the broth should be used, so add the mushroom water to the broth pan so it heats up.
  • When the rice absorbs most of the broth, taste to check doneness. It should be getting close but still a little hard. You should be able to add one more cup or so of the mushroom broth by repeating the process above. As the rice absorbs most of the broth, check the doneness again and add a little bit more broth if you think it needs it. Remember, you don’t want the rice to be overdone. A little underdone is better than sticky and mushy.
  • Add 1/3 cup of broth, stir, bring back to a bubble, and turn off the heat. Add the butter and stir vigorously while shaking the pan back and forth. When the butter is all melted and incorporated add the sausage, mushrooms, and asparagus. Stir into the mixture.
  • Add the cheese and do the same motion of stirring vigorously and shaking the pan back and forth until the cheese is all incorporated. Add another 1/4 to 1/3 cup of broth, stirring constantly and vigorously, turn the heat back on, and quickly heat back up. Your risotto should be creamy but not soupy. If it isn’t creamy add a bit more broth, a pinch of salt if needed, and stir.
  • Serve immediately in bowls or plates heated in the oven.


Copyright Denise Pardini 2008 - 2020,

wine for risotto

Risotto wine pairing

You’ll find it best to adjust your pairing based on the ingredients you use. But, a good rule of thumb will be more medium-bodied reds with good complexity and earthy notes as well as full-bodied whites.

My sausage, asparagus, and mushroom risotto wine pairing was rouchet / ruché by Scarpa.

A lesser-known varietal wine from the Monferrato, it gives fruit and delicate notes of spices with a long finish. The wine’s complexity of fruity notes made it a great with the asparagus risotto.

My zucchini and fresh mushroom risotto wine pairing was also from Scarpa wine, a freisa.

This risotto wine pairing was a freisa secco. I paired a freisa frizzante with Denise’s The Ultimate Spring Stew. Freisa is thought to be a parent to nebbiolo, made for a great risotto pairing with nice complexity and depth as well as good earthy notes.

spring beef stew
Denise's Spring Stew with Lemon, Mint, & Glazed Carrots
Serve with mashed potatoes or brown, red, or black rice. Suggested vegetables: grilled asparagus, fresh peas, or fava beans. For a spring stew you want more tender meat and a less gamey flavor, ask your butcher for younger beef from a female cow. Shoulder meat is the best for stew, such as chuck. A rear muscle like a bottom round works, but chuck is more tender because there is more connective tissue, which keeps the meat moist during along, slow simmer. Pro tip: Buy a chuck blade and cut the stew meat yourself. 
Check out this recipe

I’ll be adding more favorite risotto recipes to the site with updates on wine pairing ideas and suggestions.

I’d love to hear your favorites! Comment below or hit me up on social media: Facebook or Instagram.

And, don’t forget our wine offers! There are some great options for risotto pairing – Langhe Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Barolo – oh my! Click here.

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