Italian Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Sometimes I’ll mention a recipe to my father, and if it starts with the words “Italian sausage” I don’t think it matters that much what words comes after, he’s already sold.

We recently made this risotto recipe together (barely adapted from Bon Appetit); dad did the provisioning, the mushroom prep, and sausage cooking, while I sat on a stool stirring the risotto for a half an hour while the rice slowly absorbed the stock, a cupful at a time.

Making risotto requires patience, it cannot be rushed. The rice will only absorb so much liquid at a time; it is the perfect “slow food”. Neither one of us counts patience as a virtue, but perhaps I have a little more when it comes to the long, slow stirring that this dish requires, so that’s the job I happily take.

Italian Sausage and Mushroom Risotto Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 (as a main) to 8 (as a starter).


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from casings, crumbled
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups Madeira (divided, 1/2 cup and 1 cup)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (use gluten-free stock if cooking gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese (for topping)



1 Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the pan, spreading it out in an even layer. Do not stir, but allow to brown on one side for a couple minutes. Then stir and allow to brown a little more. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and oregano and cook until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the Madeira and scrape to deglaze the pan, about 1 minute. Set aside.

2 Heat chicken stock until it is steamy or simmering in a large saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

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3 Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice; stir 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup Madeira. Cook, stirring constantly until Madeira has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Ladle in a little hot stock, just enough to barely cover the rice; simmer until almost absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more stock by ladlefuls, stirring often and allowing most stock to be absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes.


4 Stir in the sausage and mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese to serve.

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Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine.

Showing 4 of 16 Comments

  • John Young

    That was my first time to make risotto and it turned out great! I’ve liked everyone of the recipes from your site that I’ve tried so far; and that’s a sizable number. Thanks for the good eats.

  • Liane

    I made myself a barley ‘risotto’ with mushrooms (from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything) a few weeks ago. I used just plain old mushrooms, and with the chicken stock and cooking process even those tasted decadent at the end. So, if you don’t have fancy mushrooms, plain ones are just great.

    If you’re curious about barley, it takes FOREVER and by the time it was done I was about to pass out from the hunger and standing over the stove for an hour, and I was so hungry at that point that the barley was still kind of crunchy but I didn’t care. Yikes. Next time I will use arborio rice and hopefully it will seem like no time at all compared to my last experience. This recipe looks amazing and I am sure I will try it soon. I still have a couple other of your recipes in the queue to try first!

  • Amy

    This looks absolutely delish! I was wondering how much does this recipe feed?

    8 as a starter, 4 as a main. ~Elise

  • Jamie

    My husband absolutely hates mushrooms, which is sad for me, but I made this recipe substituting a cup of diced celery for the mushrooms, and it was fantastic.

  • jen

    I made this last night. I used really old cognac instead of the Madeira. I’d recommend the recipe. It is very good but also extremely rich.

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