Italian Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

Gluten-FreeItalian SausageMushroomRisotto

Mushroom risotto with Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, and sweet Italian sausage.

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.

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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 tablespoons extra virgin 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 Cook the sausage and mushrooms: Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan, spreading it out in an even layer. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the mushrooms, thyme, and oregano. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the 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.

3 Cook onions and garlic in butter: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

4 Add the rice: Add the rice to the onions and cook for a couple of minutes, until the rice starts to brown.

5 Add remaining 1 cup Madeira. Cook, stirring constantly until Madeira has been absorbed, about 2 minutes.

6 Add the hot stock, one ladleful at a time and simmer until it is almost all absorbed by the rice, after each addition. Slowly stir the rice while it is cooking in the stock.

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.

7 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.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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21 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Dawn

    Wonderful! I cut the amount of butter down quite a bit and added more olive oil and cut the sausage in half. I made it with the full amount of sausage the first time and wanted the ratio different for our tastes. The fresh thyme makes such a difference! I also don’t have Madeira so used dry Vermouth. YUM!!!


  2. kelsey

    delicious but salty, and there wasn’t even salt added. next time i’ll use unsalted butter. and im not sensitive to salt, love it. also, had to make extra broth because arborio wasn’t fully cooked yet. but still, was amazing. can i freeze leftovers?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Kelli

    Could the Madeira be substituted with red wine?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. 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.


  5. 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!

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