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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.


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