Sausage and Asparagus Risotto (vegetarian and vegan option)
Let me show you how to make a delicious dinner with ingredients lurking in the back of your fridge: this is my Sausage and Asparagus Risotto.
Fridge raid dinners
This recipe first came about because I had a bizarre combination of ingredients in my fridge. I’d got a few leftover sausages and some asparagus that was beginning to wilt and become past its best. Neither of these ingredients are ones you want to waste and so I came up with this light and creamy Sausage and Asparagus Risotto.
Although they might seem to be an unlikely combination, the asparagus takes what would otherwise be quite a rich dish and makes it much lighter and brighter. It’s perfect for a warm spring evening.
How to make the perfect, creamy risotto
Risotto has a reputation for being difficult to make but if you scroll down to the recipe card you’ll see that the steps are actually quite simple. The reason being, if you use the right ingredients, and are patient when adding the stock you will get a delicious, creamy risotto with tender rice every time.
If you’ve heard that risottos are hard to make, and daunted by the prospect, then stop worrying immediately. Here I’ll walk through the steps in simple terms so you can see just how easy they are to make, once you know how.
Which is the right rice for risotto?
Authentic risotto is made using short or medium grain rice varieties that are round and plump, and have high starch content. Arborio is the most common risotto rice variety and is available in all good supermarkets.
Why do you need to toast your rice when making risotto?
The step of “toasting” your rice is essential. Once the onions have softened you need to add your rice to the pan. By cooking the rice in the oil it creates a shell around the rice and means that the grain is able to absorb the stock and wine without getting soggy.
How slowly do you need to add the stock and wine?
It’s traditional to add the wine to the pan before the stock. Stock should always be added warm so that there is not a drastic change in temperature and the risotto can cook more consistently and evenly.
The key thing to remember is to add the stock slowly. There’s no magic answer as to how slowly you should add it. You should aim to make sure that the previous ladle of stock has been absorbed and you should add just enough so that the rice isn’t swimming in liquid.
Follow these simple steps and you will have perfect risotto every time.
More risotto recipes
Make it vegetarian or vegan
Since going vegan I have been slowly turning my attention to some of my old recipes to see if I can suggest plant based alternatives. This recipe is one that adapts surprisingly easily given that it contains 3 potentially problematic ingredients: sausages, chicken stock and white wine.
For the sausages I recommend using a really “meaty” sausage. Richmond does a very convincing plant based sausage that is very close in looks, texture and flavour. I’ve often taken a bite of a Richmond meat free sausage and had to double check it wasn’t the real deal.
Instead of using chicken stock, I use high quality vegetable stock or bouillion. This means the risotto still has plenty of flavour and the slight saltiness that you get from the sausage and chicken stock combo.
White wine isn’t quite as difficult to replace compared to the sausages and chicken stock. But if you’re not used to plant based cooking and you’re making this for dinner guest, please do double check that the wine is vegan. Wines aren’t always vegan (or even vegetarian) because of a process called ‘fining’ which uses animal products like milk proteins, egg whites, gelatin and even isinglass which is made from fish bladders.
Sausage and Asparagus Risotto
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 pork sausages or plant based alternative such as Richmond meat free sausages
- 1 white onion finely diced
- 100 g mushrooms sliced
- 400 g Arborio rice
- 200 g asparagus cut the spears off then slice the stems
- 850 ml chicken stock or vegetable stock or bouillion, keep warm
- cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 pinch salt
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
- Remove the skins from the sausages by making a slit down the side and peeling it back. Pinch the sausages into bite size pieces then fry them in a large frying pan until they begin to brown.
- Add the diced white onion to the pan along with a little salt.
- Cook until the onions are translucent and the sausages are cooked through.
- Next add the mushroom to the pan and fry until they are becoming soft but with slightly caramelised edges.
- Next pour the dry rice straight into the pan and stir, allowing the rice to soak up the oil and other juices.
- When the rice has begun to go translucent add the wine to the pan.
- Let this simmer until almost all has been absorbed.
- Begin adding the warm stock just one ladle at a time, again letting it simmer until almost all of it has been absorbed.
- Repeat this process until all of the stock has been used and the rice is tender.
- Add in the asparagus and cook until it is just softened.
- Season with a generous helping of the cracked black pepper and a little more salt if needed then serve.
What do I do with leftovers?
If you find yourself in the unlikely position of having leftover risotto, you must make arancini! Arancini are crispy, deep fried balls made up of leftover risotto rice. Sometimes they are stuffed with cheese or a meaty, saucy filling. The transform what would otherwise go to waste into something delicious.
Find out how to make them here.
If you like this recipe, you’ll love…
More recipes using asparagus
More recipes using sausages
If you make this recipe please do leave a comment or give it a star rating in the recipe card. Your feedback is super important to me!