Risotto with Italian Sausage, Carmelized Onions and Bitter Greens

I know, the picture doesn’t look too appetizing. But this was good eats. Seriously. I wouldn’t call this dish “light” though… I did make this on my cheat night. Way too many calories and fat and carbs for me to consider during the week. But damn this was good. I don’t make risotto often because of the carb factor but I do love a good risotto, even when I dine out.

Risotto is one of those dishes you can royally screw up if you don’t do it right. You could potentially end up with a big pot of sticky goo because of the high starch level. I’m no professional but I believe the trick is to not overcook it and constantly stir. I read some of the reviews on Cooking Light and some people ran into this problem.

But overall, a relatively simple dish to make. As usual, I had my own deviations from the recipe. I used escarole instead of arugula since I’ve a big fan of escarole. However, I picked a bad bunch of escarole so I got very little out of it and ending up tossing in some mushrooms to give it more substance. And I forgot to add the lemon rind to the end, but it still tasted great without it.

Overall rating – 4 stars

Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onions, and Bitter Greens

Sweet onions and salty cheese temper the bitterness of arugula, which cuts the starchy richness of the rice. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
2 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 cup Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1/3 cup white wine
2 cups arugula leaves
3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and sugar to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until onion is golden. Place onion mixture in a small bowl; set aside.

3. Removing casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add chopped shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add Arborio rice; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in white wine; cook 45 seconds or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup hot broth; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Remove from heat; stir in reserved onion, arugula, and remaining ingredients.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 390 (24% from fat); FAT 10.3g (sat 3.6g,mono 3.6g,poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 21.1g; CHOLESTEROL 54mg; CALCIUM 104mg; SODIUM 900mg; FIBER 4.4g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53.1g

Cooking Light, MARCH 2008



  1. Nick said

    Mmm, I love risotto. Sausage and caramelized onions sound awesome Dani. I made a risotto recently using barley, spinach, mushrooms, red wine and the only thing I changed was to add raisins – it was the best risotto I’ve ever had. Of course I haven’t posted the recipe yet, but soon! This looks scrumptious, nice job!

    The Peanut Butter Boy

  2. melissa said

    mmm risotto. sounds good dani. I usually make asparagus and brown mushroom. I say usually but I’ve actually only made it 4 times, all with close to perfect results. considering the horror stories I’ve heard, I’m grateful. 🙂 sounds like you’ve had good luck with it too.

  3. foodiedani said


    Can’t wait to see your recipe!


    I love how you and Nick both start your comments off the same way, lol!


  4. Jonathan said

    Just found your blog… the first thing I saw was the Cooking Lite logo and then i looked at that awesome looking risotto and thought HUH? wha-wha-what? then I read your first two lines and realized I wasn’t crazy. I think cooking lite throws in those ‘regular’ meals just to confuse us!

    amy @ we are never full

  5. foodiedani said

    Hi Jonathan/Amy,

    Welcome to my blog! Yup, Cooking Light will have that recipe in every issue that is definitely not light in my book, but still delicious.


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