• 6 links italian sausage, i used spicy
  • 1 bundle rapini
  • 1/2 large onion diced small
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 3 to 4 cups of chicken broth
  • bay leaf
  • 1 lemon
  • chili flakes

I love rapini….. and my boyfriend doesn’t, until I created this recipe! It was the first time I succeeded at making him enjoy rapini. If you know how to make risotto this won’t be complicated at all, it’s mostly an assembly job. If not I’ll walk you through it step by step.


How To:

The Quicky Version : 

  • make sausage bits, reserve the fat
  • blanch some rapini (most cut in pieces some left whole)
  • cook your risotto, using the sausage fat.
  • When it is almost ready add in most of the sausage, juice and zest of one lemon, chili flakes to taste, the pieces of rapini.
  • sautée and season the whole rapini
  • serve your risotto with with the leftover sausage bits, sautéed rapini and gremolata ( if desired) over top.

The Step by Step :

  • Remove the sausage from its casing, cook and crumble in a sauté pan until it create little crunchy bits.  Using a slotten spoon, remove the sausage from the pan and transfer to a lined plate. Reserve the fat!
  • Cut up two thirds of the rapini into 1” pieces, leave the other third whole. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and blanch the rapini for 2 min or less. Blanch the pieces and the whole rapini independently. Once blanched, strain and rince it under cold water. Reserve the rapini.
  • Heat up a pan on med/high heat to make your risotto.  (I really like using a dutch enameled pot like a creuset, but in this case I used the same non-stick sautee pan that I used to cook the sausage ) 
  • Add the sausage fat to the pan (if not using the same pan already) and add in the rice.
  • Toast the rice in the fat.  Add in the onion and let the rice and onion really cook in there before adding the liquid. The rice should almost become transluscent or have a tiny bit of color.
  • Pour in a cup of white wine and stir until it is almost completely absorbed.
  • Add in some broth, one cup at a time and stir regularly, do not add any other liquid until it is almost completely absorbed. (if you have a bay leaf add it in at this stage and discard once the risotto is finished)
  •  Continue the process of adding the liquid gradually and stirring constantly, the risotto should have the right toothsome texture by 18minutes to 25 minutes of cooking.
  • Taste the risotto as you go, that way you can stop cooking and adding liquid when it is where you want it to be.
  • When the risotto is almost ready add in most of the sausage bits (reserving some for garnish).
  • Add in the rapini pieces, the juice and zest of a lemon and some chili flakes to your liking.
  • In another pan, quickly sautée the whole rapini stems with some salt and pepper, and olive oil (or the sausage fat, if you have any left).
  • Serve with the left over sausage bits and whole rapini over top.
  • I also love adding a gremolata over top to add some freshness. (chopped garlic, parsley, lemon and/or orange chopped all together)

This risotto is so creamy and rich from the fatty sausage that you really don’t need parmesan…but that’s your call. The lemon juice and zest added at the end livens everything up.

Tips for success : 

  1. No need for oil in your sautée pan when you cook the sausage. It’ll render out enough fat on its own.
  2. Use a potato masher to break down the sausage meat into bits in the pan.
  3. Wait until the sausage starts warming up in the pan before mashing it up….the fat will melt away and the meat will break apart much more easily.
  4. My favorite pot to use to make risotto is a dutchenameled pot (such as my creuset) it has such a thick bottom that your risotto will be less likely to stick and burn than in other pans.
  5. I like to add a little extra splash of broth at the end, just before serving, because risotto tends to stiffen up a bit as it cools. The extra splash of broth will keep your risotto nice as creamy and loose.
  6. Try to cook risotto, just before your ready to eat, it’s much better if it doesn’t stick around for too long.
  7. If you do wish to cook it a while before you’re ready to eat, turn the heat down to the lowest setting so that it doesn’t over cook. Or better yet, cook it halfway to its ready point, remove from the heat and finish cooking just before you’re ready to eat.

Remove Sausage from CasingBreak up the SausageCrisp up the SausageRemove the Sausage Keep the FatToast Onion and Rice in FatStart Adding StockRisotto ReadyFold in Sausage, Rapini and goodies