This creamy mushroom risotto recipe is the perfect comfort meal and easy to make at home. Serve this gluten-free risotto up with a fresh green salad and dinner is complete!
Be sure to try this shrimp pea risotto, too! (So many possibilities!)
Risotto is the darling of northern Italy, particularly the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont. With the production of risotto rice in the Po River Valley, this staple dish was the best of local fare.
Of course, it’s so delicious that the dish is pretty readily available throughout Italy and in Italian restaurants in the US, too. In fact, I was inspired to make this dish following a meal in a California Italian restaurant.
Risotto is often one of the only gluten free options on Italian restaurant menus. Since I try to avoid wheat products, I ordered risotto and got a delicious meal AND inspiration to duplicate it so we could have it at home whenever we wanted.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto
This gluten-free risotto isn’t a fast dish. It does require you to stand at the stove and keep an eye on it as it cooks for about half an hour or so. But it’s not a difficult meal to make at home. Pour yourself a glass of wine, turn on some music, and embrace the aroma! I think you’ll find the effort worth it.
Risotto: Arborio rice is commonly available in the states, and that’s what I use. If you’ve got a larger selection where you live, Carnaroli and Roma rice are also perfectly suitable.
Broth: You can use chicken broth or vegetable broth for this recipe. If you have homemade broth, all the better.
Sausage: Opt for bulk sausage if it’s available. Alternatively, use cased Italian sausages and push the meat out of the casing to brown it.
Mushrooms: I use fresh button or cremini mushrooms for this risotto recipe, but if you have canned mushrooms, those would work as well.
Onion: You can use any kind of bulb onion you have on hand — white, yellow, or red.
Spinach: Opt for fresh spinach and tear it into bite-sized pieces. You could also use Swiss chard or bok choy, if spinach isn’t readily available.
Heavy cream: The addition of cream at the end of the cooking time gives this dish a creamy texture.
Parmesan cheese: Added at the end, this Italian cheese is a must for rich flavor.
You’ll have two (or three, if you heat the broth) pans cooking for this sausage mushroom risotto. The onions, sausage, and mushrooms come together in one, while you cook the arborio rice slowly in another. It takes about half an hour of “on” time to make this dish.
Toast the risotto in a skillet until it’s lightly browned. Add the white wine and allow the liquid to absorb before continuing to add broth in one-cup increments.
Risotto is typically made using heated broth. To do this, simply pour the required amount of broth into a pot and bring it to a simmer. Ladle hot broth out of this pot into the risotto mixture. This always feels like an extra step to me — and an extra pot to wash — and I’ve found that the recipe works just fine by skipping this step. Beginning with hot broth can reduce the cooking time of the rice, though.
One all of the liquid has been incorporated into the rice and it achieves a creamy consistency, stir in the fresh spinach, along with the sausage and mushroom mixture. Add Parmesan cheese and cream, then serve.
The heavy cream and parmesan give the risotto a creamy consistency, but if you’re trying to avoid dairy, you can do without. If you love dairy and like an extra creamy risotto, you can double the amount of cream.
Variations on Risotto
This is just one recipe, but as it turns out, risotto is tremendously versatile. Try adding crispy bacon or pancetta along with caramelized onions. Or peas. Or shredded chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Simply follow the instructions to make risotto, then add your choice of flavors and tidbits.
It is really a flexible dish and a good one for utilizing leftovers. No wonder it’s so loved in Italy!
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- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, (or butter, divided)
- 2 onions, (medium, sliced)
- 1 cup Italian sausage (about 2-3 Italian link sausages)
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 7 cups chicken stock (broth)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach
- Heat half the oil in a large skillet. Add the sliced onions. Set skillet over medium heat until they begin to brown. Add sausage to pan; remove from casings if necessary, along with mushrooms.
- Optional: Heat broth in a separate pot; hold over low heat.
- While this cooks, pour remaining oil in a large pan with dry risotto. Cook and stir for five minutes or until slightly toasted and transparent.
- Stir wine into risotto.
- As soon as the wine is absorbed, add about one cup of broth. As the broth is absorbed, continue to add more broth in increments of about 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding more. (No need to measure this!)
- Once all of the broth has been incorporated, stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, and spinach, along with the sausage and mushroom mixture. Top with grated parmesan and fresh spinach shreds if desired.
Pre-heating the broth can cut overall cooking time and it's the traditional way to make risotto. If you'd like to reduce the number of pots you're using to make a meal, you can skip this step.
Serve with freshly ground black pepper on the side.