Comfort food is such a wonderful idea. Food that seeks to elicit memories of times when you were young, happy, and carefree.  Or maybe just food that warms you up after a cold winter day. I think risotto falls into the latter category since I don’t remember my mom making it all that often when I was a kid.

Unfortunately, try as you might, comfort food doesn’t always make you comfortable.

Case in point: Nate threw his back out a few weeks ago. I felt so helpless in this situation. I pride myself on being a great girlfriend and love taking care of people, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to ease his pain. I catered to his every whim (when I was home), bringing him food and water, but nothing could really make him feel better except time.

So, I did the next best thing that I knew how: I cooked.

I wanted to make something easy for him to eat, but delicious. This satisfied on both accounts. And I think it may have made him forget about his back for at least the first few bites ;)

Sausage and Mushroom Risotto
From Bon Appetit (8/01)

Print this recipe!

Makes 8 1st course servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sweet sausage, casings removed, crumbled into 1/2-in pieces (I used turkey sausage)
8 oz. portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out, caps diced
10 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, diced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups Madeira (or Sherry)
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arborio rice or other medium grain rice (about 13 oz)
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over med-hi heat. Add sausage and saute until beginning to brown, about 3 min. Add all mushrooms, thyme and oregano and suate until mushrooms are tender, about 10 min.

Add 1/2 cup Madeira; boil until almost absorbed, about 1 min. Set aside.

Bring stock to simmer in large saucepan; remove from heat and cover to keep hot.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over med-hi heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 5 min.

Add rice; stir 2 min. Add remaining 1 cup Madeira; simmer until absorbed, about 2 min. Add 1 cup hot stock; simmer until almost absorbed, stirring often, about 3 min.

Continue to cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more stock by cupfuls, stirring often and allowing most stock to be absorbed before adding more, about 25 min.

Stir in sausage mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Pass cheese separately.


  1. EUREKA! If I just center the writing in the screen, I can drool over two pictures at once while reading. This looks wonderfully rich, creamy and all around fantastic!

  2. You’re such a great girlfriend. I love risotto, and I can’t think of a better food to make someone forget their pain. Especially when you throw in sausage and mushrooms. Hope Nate feels better soon.

    • Hehe, thanks, Nicole :) Nate’s already feeling a little better…he’s still can’t really sit comfortably but he’s up and walking around!

  3. i am a huge fan of mushroom risotto! this looks so warm and inviting. i’m sure your boyfriend loved it! i hope his back is better – i know back injuries go for awhile :(

    • I contemplated making just mushroom risotto but then decided we needed some protein. I bet it would be just as delicious without the sausage…although if I was going to make a risotto with only mushrooms, I’d probably have a more concentrated mushroom flavor using dried, rehydrated mushrooms.

  4. You can never go wrong with comfort food. This risotto sounds amazing, Amy! Sherry is always such a great addition. Hope Nate feels better soon!

  5. Pingback: A warm winter’s meal- Tomato, Oregano, and Feta Risotto «

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