creamy baked sausage risotto

creamy baked sausage risotto |

Traditional risotto is a beautiful thing.

Tender specks of ivory colored grains cook gently, until their natural starches release into the pot creating a creamy, oozy risotto…

You pay top dollar for this stuff in a restaurant.

But when you think of homemade risotto, you might picture an old Italian lady stirring (and sweating) over the stove.

creamy baked sausage risotto |

Thankfully, there’s baked risotto.

This method yields a beautiful, creamy risotto without a significant departure from the original.

Yes, it’s a little bit thicker.

And yes it’s made in a Dutch oven as opposed to a wide open skillet.

Risotto purists would probably have a field day with this version but hey, it’s typical Tuesday night cooking, not a village cook-off.

This recipe starts out by browning good-quality Italian chicken sausage on the stove (if you are a vegetarian, see Kitchen Notes below).

Once that’s done, sauté onions, celery and garlic in the same pot, then in goes the Arborio rice to lightly toast. Deglaze with dry white wine, stock and tomatoes.

The real time-saver here is eliminating the back and forth motion of adding the stock 1 ladleful at a time; just dump it all in.

Bake for about 40 minutes or so, which leaves you just enough time to make a quick salad and clear the junk off your kitchen table.

And then, you will be rewarded with this…

creamy baked sausage risotto |

The end result is not quite as ‘oozy’ as traditional risotto, but it’s definitely too creamy to call ‘baked rice’.

But one thing’s for sure: it’s a wonderful, comforting meal the whole family will enjoy.

• • • • • • • • •

Kitchen Notes

Tips: You will need a Dutch oven or another oven-proof pot with lid for this recipe.

This might sound obvious but I’m going to say it anyway: keep canned tomatoes, stock and Arborio rice in your pantry; frozen pre-chopped celery and onions in a ziploc bag (respectively); sausage in your fridge/ freezer; and you will be ready for an easy dinner any night of the week. Just do it.

In the recipe, I only add the browned sausage to the risotto towards the end of cooking. It’s more flavorful this way.

Substitutions: If you don’t eat meat, just leave it out. You could easily sub vegetables; hunks of cauliflower, artichoke heats, zucchini, and kale come to mind. Give them a light sauté first, and they will finish cooking in the oven.

Make-Ahead: Risotto has a tendency to thicken as it sits, so this is best made fresh. However, you can brown the sausage 1-2 days in advance to save time.

creamy baked sausage risotto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 with leftovers
For the Chicken Sausage
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¾ lb Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 rib of celery with leaves (if you have any), thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup Arborio rice
  • splash of dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1x 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups of good-quality chicken broth (or stock), plus more as needed
  • salt & pepper
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped parsley (I used the curly kind)
  • parmesan cheese
  • extra olive oil, for serving
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. In a 6 qt. Dutch oven, or another oven-proof pot with lid, warm the 1 tsp. of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer sausage to a cutting board. Pour out any residual oil and clean the bottom of the pot with a paper towel.
  3. To begin the risotto, add the olive oil and butter to the Dutch oven. Saute the onions, celery, and garlic over medium-low heat until the vegetables begin to soften, abut 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the rice. Stir the grains to coat, 1 minute.
  5. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the wine is slightly reduced.
  6. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth, and give it a stir.
  7. Place the lid on top and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, slice the sausage into rounds.
  9. At the 30 minute mark, add the sausage to the pot. Continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes. The risotto is ready when the grains are tender, but still have a slight bite to them.
  10. Remove the pot from the oven and peek inside; adjust consistency with more chicken broth or simply keep it the way it is. Risotto is very forgiving. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Stir in the chopped parsley.
  12. Serve warm with a drizzle of extra olive oil and plenty of parmesan cheese.



    • Emilie says

      Hi Rebecca! I have a special chopper that I use for my onions; it’s one of those hand held tools with the different plates you can change for dicing. I buy a big bag of onions, chop up the whole thing, and freeze in ziploc bags. It takes no time at all, and is great to have on hand for spontaneous cooking. I go into more detail in my book ;)

  1. Jennifer says

    Love risotto but never want to take the time to make it! Now I will. This recipe sounds delicious!
    Thanks again as always!

    • Emilie says

      You are quite welcome! Although this dish is a little thicker than a typical risotto, it’s delicious and satisfying especially during a busy week :) Enjoy!

    • Emilie says

      Hello Allyson! I agree! It also allows you to use up any odds and ends in your fridge, or to stretch out protein for the family, as I’ve done here with the chicken sausage. x

    • Emilie says

      It’s a wonderful technique, Meghan. You can vary the recipe too, adding more veggies, chicken and whatever else you’d like! It’s great having the oven do most of the work for you. :)

  2. Diane Gilman says

    Going to make the creamy baked sausage Risotto this weekend. Double checking if the Arborio rice and liquid ratios are correct? Recipe calls for only 3/4 cup of arborio and 3 cups of broth and 14 oz can tomatoes?

    • Emilie says

      Hi there! Yes! The measurements listed in the recipe above are correct. It seems like too much liquid in proportion to the rice, but it works. In fact, you might need to add a little bit more stock at the end (to loosen, as needed). Thanks for double checking and enjoy the dish!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Cristie! Yes, this can happen sometimes especially if there is not enough liquid to start with. To expand on that thought- I have found that the texture of baked risotto can be remedied by adding more stock at the end of cooking to loosen it up. If you make this, do let me know how it goes! xx

  3. says

    WHOAAA! Baked risotto.. Genius.
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that I do not need to wait by the stove and stir for an hour. :) Such a great recipe.
    And those photos.. You make anything look AHHHMAYZING girl. And this risotto is no exception. <3

    • Emilie says

      You are too kind… I think you (and Dwight!) would like this recipe, it’s wonderful for simple cooking! xo

  4. says

    Same here. Always hesitating of making risotto. But we love eating rice at this house. So will give this a try. Looks delicious! Thank you Emily!

  5. says

    Hehe! I love this method, Emilie, but have yet to try it. I’ve all the ingredients on hand.. so this will be happening soon with mushrooms, I’m thinking. I love a good thick risotto, so this is right up my alley. It is pure comfort food at its finest! Gimme a big glass of vino and I’m in heaven! Thank you for this my dear! xo

    • Emilie says

      Oh, Traci! You can make a veggie version and it will be so good! It’s more of a method than a recipe really; adapt as you see fit. With wine, of course :)

  6. says

    This is so gorgeous Emily! I only mad risotto for the first time this past winter (a vegan recipe I created) and was over the moon excited about it. What a cozy dish it is! And your baked version here sounds so yummy too, plus I love anything you can just throw in the oven and forget about ;). Happy weekend now lady! Hope you get some gorgeous outdoor time with your fam – xoxo

    • Emilie says

      You are very welcome. That’s fantastic you keep these ingredients on hand- this will be ready in no time then! Enjoy :)

  7. says

    Making it tonight for a book club potluck! I’ll let you know how it turned out.
    (Doubling the recipe…wish me luck.)

  8. larry says

    This looks awesome. I have ginger sausage purchased at the local farmer’s market and thoght to give this recipe a try. Never baked risotto and willing to give a try tomorrow night.This dish looks so good. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Emilie says

      Hello Larry! You’re welcome! The local ginger sausage sounds absolutely incredible- don’t think I’ve had that before! Hope you enjoyed the recipe.

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