Gettin’ Down ‘n Dirty…with Risotto


I love risotto but I don’t make it too often because I try to limit my intake of “whites” and, well, I’m pretty sure that whole grain risotto doesn’t exist. Even if it did, it would be an abomination! I’ve been wanting to try Giada’s dirty risotto for a while now because it’s a very hearty risotto, fit for a main course serving. Since it has a protein, veggies and a starch it’s pretty much a meal in itself…but I did pair our dinner tonight with a baby spinach salad.

I did adapt the recipe (of course). I bulked up the veggies and the sausage a little bit, but used chicken sausage to lighten it up. I’m pretty certain you can find leaner chicken sausage but the spicy Italian from Trader Joe’s I had on hand (which is SO good) was 190 calories a link. I added garlic, too (a Giada recipe without garlic? Almost as preposterous as an Elly recipe without it!). I was a little nervous about adding this into SparkPeople. Even with my modifications I thought it was going to be a calorie bomb. But, it’s really not that bad at around 450 calories. It is slightly high in fat, but you can modify that by using leaner sausage, something in place of the pancetta, etc.

Tom and I both really liked this dish. I mean, what’s not to like about a creamy, comforting meal like this? Definitely one to make again.

Dirty Risotto
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 2

2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. butter
1 link (4 oz.) spicy Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
1 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup pecorino romano

Add the chicken broth to a small saucepan and bring to a light simmer. Keep it on the stove, simmering, as you prepare the risotto.

Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large pan. Add the chicken sausage, crumbling it as you stir it in, and the pancetta and cook for a few minutes until browned. Add the onions, red pepper and mushrooms. Saute for a few minutes before adding the minced garlic. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the rice and stir to coat, “toasting” it a little. Add the wine and cook it off until it’s almost completely evaporated.

Add a ladel of the simmering chicken broth to the pan and stir continiously until almost absorbed. Continue adding chicken broth by the ladel, every time the rice has nearly absorbed it, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite. Remove from heat and stir in the romano.

Nutritional Information, Per Serving, using Trader Joe’s Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage: Calories: 451.5 / Fat: 19.5g / Carbs: 39.5g /  Dietary Fiber: 2g / Protein: 24.8g

Gettin’ Down ‘n Dirty…with Risotto

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