Best recipe: Risotto with sausage and borlotti beans

risotto sausage and borlotti beans

Risotto is a recipe I learnt to cook before I knew my husband, Matthew. It’s one of the few recipes that I can cook better than he can.

As we had no bones for the stock, we decided to make a vegetable stock consisting of half a stalk of celery (plus leaves), half an onion, several parsley stalks, a bay leaf and a few peppercorns. I boiled the lot for half an hour.

As it is difficult to find sausages with no spices (because I am intolerant to chilli and paprika) I decided to use pork mince and a pinch of fennel seeds.

This risotto recipes has excellent flavours, even though I hardly followed the recipe instructions.

Rose Gray says the following about the recipe:

I’ve always been a fan of Marcella Hazen. She’s an evocative food writer who is also very good on detail and precision and understands the importance of texture. This is a warming, wintry dish for people who love eating. I first came across it on a wine trip to Verona about 10 years ago. At that time you could only buy dried borlotti beans in the Uk; it’s only recently that fresh ones have arrived in our markets. They have a beautiful creamy consistency; they take on all the flavours of the fennelly sausage.

Risotto with sausage and borlotti beans
Adapted from Risotto with sausage and cranberry (borlotti) beans - Marcella Hazan, Marcella Cucina

200g tin of borlotti beans
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsps butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup of pork mince
1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
4 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of arborio rice
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)
salt and pepper

  1. Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan and maintain on a low simmer.
  2. Add the olive oil to a second saucepan and gently cook the onion until translucent. Add the pork mince and brown. Add the fennel seeds and stir in.
  3. Add the butter and when melted add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Coat all grains of rice with the butter.
  4. Add some vegetable stock to just cover the rice and increase the heat to medium.
  5. Mash the beans in a bowl and then add to the risotto.
  6. Cook, stirring, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  7. Gradually add more stock waiting until each new batch has been absorbed. Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot!
  8. When rice is ready stir in the Parmesan cheese and parsley (if using). Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve after 25 minutes, or when the rice is al dente.

Serves 2.

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