Dirty Risotto – A cross between Cajun dirty rice and Italian Risotto. Loaded with sausage, peppers, and more. It’s got it all!
One of my sister’s signature dishes (she’s a great cook!) is her Dirty Risotto. It had been AGES since I had it and I got a craving in a big way the other week. I made it last week with a few teensy adjustments (like skipping the cheese–I miss you parmesan!), and OH, DOLLY. It’s good.
It’s one of those recipes that’s SO easy but is completely LOADED with flavor. Read on for the recipe (and the why on earth it’s called Dirty Risotto)…
It’s got some great flavor from peppers and onions, and instead of using spicy Andouille or smoked sausage, we’ve used Italian sausage here. My sister got me onto adding plenty of mushrooms, and I love experimenting with fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, or parsley are nice!). With the creaminess you can coax out of arborio rice, it’s just as dreamy as can be, and it gets even better with time!
Notes on the Recipe
Only Arborio. You really do want to use arborio rice for this recipe. It’s a short-grain rice suited for risotto because of the starch content. It’ll give you the creamiest results, especially with plenty of stirring.
An easier stirring method. In traditional risotto recipes, you add broth about 1/2 cup at a time and keep stirring. After reading Tyler Florence’s Test Kitchen book a few years ago, I gave this up and adopted his method of adding all the liquid at once and stir-stir-stirring the whole time. It’s much less fuss for me, and I get creamy results every time.
Reheating leftovers. Rice continues to absorb liquid once it’s cooked, so you’ll likely need to add a little more liquid (broth, water, whatever you please) to the leftovers to regain that creamy texture. I often make this in the morning so it can develop flavor all day for dinner. I add a bit more water or broth as I heat it up for dinner and it’s as delightful as can be.
For a touch of decadence–you can add a splash of cream, milk, or Parmesan cheese. I’ve had it those ways in our pre-dairy-free days and it was AWESOME.
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- 8-12oz Italian Sausage (I use 6oz mild/sweet and 6oz hot/spicy)
- ½ green bell pepper, finely diced
- ½ red bell pepper finely diced
- ½ red onion, finely diced
- 8oz mushrooms, finely diced
- 1½ cups arborio rice
- 5-6 cups broth (veggie, chicken, or beef)
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, or parsley)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- olive oil
- In a large pot (I prefer a Dutch Oven), heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and completely cooked through. Drain excess fat as desired.
- Add bell peppers, onion, and mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes, or until veggies are softened.
- Add in rice and stir in. Cook 1-2 minutes.
- Add 5 cups of broth to the pot and begin stirring. Stir consistently while the water absorbs, about 20-25 minutes. Taste and check if rice is tender. If needed, add more broth to the pot and continue stirring until rice is tender and creamy. Add salt and pepper, to taste and sprinkle with fresh herbs.