Risotto with Sausage, Baby Bellas and Saffron

baby bellas

The weather is starting to turn in Charleston, or at least I am seeing bits of blue in the sky and I’m a little hot in my apartment without the air conditioner on. Chilly and rainy, this is the second week in a row that I haven’t been able to make it to the Daniel Island farmer’s market, it was cancelled last week for the rain and was probably cancelled yesterday since it was rainy and blowy when I hopped on my bike to head down there. The forecast for the next few days is for storms storms storms, I hope that they are wrong, I would love to spend a morning at the beach this weekend and would like to start making more seasonal food.

baby bellas

Soup, mushroom risotto, these are not things that people normally eat in late May, but if you are as affected by the weather as I am, your cravings are dictated by temperature and the color of the sky. Risottos can be wonderful for warm weather, with seafood or spring vegetables. Mushrooms and sausage make me think of fall leaves and that first chill of fall, not green leaves and balmy temperatures.


Risotto with Sausage, Baby Bellas and Saffron

  • 1 cup of Carnaroli or Arborio rice (Italians measure rice by demitasse cups, 1 cup for each person and one for the pot)
  • 1 package of baby bella or cremini mushrooms
  • 2 sausages, casings removed and broken up into small pieces
  • 1 packet of saffron powder or a few threads of saffron
  • ½ an onion, chopped finely
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
  • salt to taste

Chop the onion into fine pieces and bring the broth to a simmer. Heat a large stovetop casserole pan over medium-high heat and melt 1 tbsp of the butter at the bottom of the pan. When the butter is melted add onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add rice and coat it in the butter, toasting it a bit. When the rice becomes opaque, after about 1 minute, add the wine to the pan, enough to cover the rice, stir frequently.

In the meantime slice the mushrooms. I know that some people think it illegal to wash mushrooms, so I should be arrested. I wash mushrooms, especially when I am adding them to a dish where that extra liquid is appreciated, like a risotto. Peel, brush or wash your mushrooms before slicing them.

When the rice has absorbed the wine, add a ladleful of broth to the pan and continue stirring. Add the sausages and the mushrooms and stir. Continue adding the broth as the rice absorbs it, you want it to almost dry out before adding the broth each time. Add the saffron powder or threads to the risotto towards the end its cooking.

I’m not sure if it is possible to find saffron powder in the States, my husband and I brought a year’s supply with us when we moved here. This dish will be wonderful without saffron as well, I realize that it isn’t really a spice for these economic times.

When the rice is finished it should be al dente and all of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove from heat and toss in the chopped parsley and the last tbsp of butter. Serve immediately.

risotto allo zafferano con salsiccie e funghi

~ by italicious on May 22, 2009.

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