Sausage Risotto with tomato and spinach is a family-friendly way to enjoy a classic dinner. It’s also easy, cheap, and a great midweek meal.
I love risotto. Personally, I favour a mushroom risotto with white wine. But, the kids don’t like that much, so I wanted to create a risotto recipe that we could all enjoy.
This is a proper kid-friendly risotto, that mine absolutely love.
If there’s one thing that my kids love, it’s sausage. I can get them to eat most things if there’s an added sausage. Although, in fairness, I should say mine aren’t particularly fussy!
The thing with risotto is, people can be a bit snobby about it. You’ll be told that you should only use certain types of rice, and you must stir in a specific way and that it should be al dente and not mushy.
But, you know what, when you are cooking for kids you can’t always be so precious about things. If the kids are more likely to eat a mushy risotto, that’s what you should give them. I’m not a traditional Italian cook. My risottos are not authentic. But, my family enjoy them, and we all get a nice, filling, and nutritious meal.
If you want a risotto for kids, you might need to break some of the “rules”
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You cook Sausage Risotto in a way that works for you, so that your family enjoys it, without worrying about what it’s meant to be like.
What Works Well in Risotto?
Everything. I like a basic mushroom risotto, chicken and veg, and fish.
I do like to add some vegetables though. Onions and garlic for the base flavours, and then I often just throw some frozen peas or corn in.
I added Spinach to my sausage kids risotto, which worked really well, and the colours look great.
Typically if I’m making mushroom or chicken risotto I use chicken stock and white wine for the sauce. Sausage Risotto with Tomato Sauce I just felt worked better and seemed to make it a little more kid-friendly.
What Kind of Sausages Should You Use in Sausage Risotto?
Again, don’t be snobby! If you can use a fancy Italian sausage in your sausage risotto with spinach, do it. If you are on a budget and need to use frozen sausages or 70p store-own sausages that’s fine too. Use what you’ve got, or what you can afford.
I gently brown my sausages in the pan, before placing them on a baking tray in the oven on a low temperature (around 120 degrees) for 20 minutes while I cook the rest of the risotto.
By then, your sausages should be cooked through. But, if when you slice them they aren’t quite cooked, put them back in the oven at a higher temperature or under the grill to finish them off before adding them to the rice.
What Vegetables Go Well with Sausage Risotto?
I like to add spinach to my Sausage Risotto Recipe. It’s easy, you just add it at the very end and stir it through until it withers, and the flavours work well together.
Other options could include adding fresh tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, or courgettes. I’d just add something your family enjoys, and that you know everyone will eat.
Is Risotto Healthy?
Yes. An easy risotto recipe is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet. There’s butter, but not too much.
Risotto feels like a creamy and indulgent meal, and it’s certainly comfort food. But, because that creamy texture comes from the starch of the rice, not cream, it’s not as unhealthy as you might expect.
The fat content will very much depend on what sausages you use. But cooking them in the oven means that a lot of the fat has come out before you add them to your risotto.
Can You Make Risotto with Normal Rice?
Ideally, your ingredients for Sausage Risotto should include risotto rice. I tend to use arborio, but Carnaroli is good too. Many people prefer it and find that the grain maintains its shape better.
But, if you’ve only got normal rice, either long-grain white or basmati, it will do. It won’t be quite the same, it might not be as creamy and the timings might be different. It won’t technically be a risotto, but who cares? It will be a tasty meal, and it won’t hurt you!
Whatever you use, please weigh it!
Rice never looks like enough when you first add it, but it grows far more than you could ever imagine! I’ve so often just kept adding more until eventually, I have to get out a second pan!
Should Risotto Be Dry?
No, but you don’t want a soupy risotto either.
Ideally, it shouldn’t be too dry that you can mould it into a shape, but it shouldn’t be that wet that the rice is swimming in stock.
As you drag your spatula through the middle, it should leave a thick groove that the rice slowly slides back into, not one that fills straight away.
Risotto should have a creamy, almost gluey texture, not dry, but not wet either.
Can You Overcook Risotto?
Yes. Personally, after about 20 minutes of adding stock, when the rice looks thick and fluffy, I start to taste it and then serve when the rice is soft, but you can still feel that it’s rice.
If you add too much stock it can become too runny, and the rice all mixes into a mush. Some people prefer this texture though, and it still tastes good so don’t worry too much.
Do You Need to Stir Risotto Constantly?
No, I don’t think you do need to stir risotto constantly.
You should cook your sausage risotto at a medium simmer. As the rice expands to fill the pan, it moves around, and the grains rub against each other. This helps release the starch, giving you a creamy family-friendly risotto.
When I add a ladle of stock, I stir it through so that it’s even. But I don’t stir constantly so that my arm falls off.
Tips for The Perfect Sausage Risotto
So, the tips. But, remember what I said about doing what works for you, to create a risotto that your kids love. If that means ignoring all of my tips, do it!!
- Don’t rinse the rice first, you need the starch
- You don’t need to stir risotto all the time. Stir a lot, yes, but, once the rice has started to expand and fill the pain, it agitates itself as it simmers, releasing the starch. Stir lots, but don’t worry about taking a break
- Add the stock ladle at a time, and stir until absorbed before adding another
- Keep the stock on a low simmer on the hob
- You might not need all of the liquid, but you may need more. Make some extra stock if needed, and taste the rice after every ladle after about 20 minutes, when it looks thicker and fluffy
- Risotto should be soft, not crunchy, but you should still be able to tell that it’s rice, not a pile of mush. As you drag your spatula through, it should leave a groove, that takes a while to fill up, it shouldn’t be soupy, but nor should it be that dry that you can mould it into a shape