Risotto con Salsiccia e Fagioli Borlotti

We start eating this dish as soon as sweater season rolls around, and we don’t stop until spring flowers start popping up. It is a Marcella Hazan classic, adapted from her “Risotto with Sausages and Cranberry Beans” recipe in her book Marcella Cucina. Note that much of the preparation for this dish can be done well in advance.

Serves 4-6 people


2/3 of a cup dry borlotti beans
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3/4 cup sausage out of the casing and crumbled
5 cups of broth
1 1/2 cups of Carnaroli rice
1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Sea salt
Black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley


1. Soak dried beans overnight, boil in fresh water, when thoroughly cooked let them sit in their juices until ready to use
2. Prepare a soffritto in a medium skillet by heating a big drizzle of olive oil and onion, stirring until onion becomes translucent
3. Add sausage and cook until browned all over, mixing with a wooden spoon
4. Remove and save excess liquid from beans and add the beans to the skillet with the sausage
5. Add a few spoonfuls of bean water to the skillet and mash about half of the beans by pressing them against the bottom of the skillet with the wooden spoon
6. Cook for about a minute, mixing constantly*
7. Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer
8. Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a burner near the broth, empty the sausage/bean mixture into the pan and turn heat to medium high. Stir well. When beans/sausage start to sizzle add the rice. Mix everything together quickly
9. Add 1 cup of simmering broth and cook the rice, stirring and adding more broth as the liquid evaporates
10. Continue until the rice is tender (about 25 minutes) ,then remove from the heat, mix in the Parmigiano, a bit of olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste
11. Transfer to a warm platter and serve

*You can do steps 2-6 up to a day in advance. Just reheat everything in a skillet with a tablespoon of water when ready to prepare the dish.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve had this dish in Piemonte. It’s called panissa (or paniscia) and it’s delicious but super rich. For my own taste, I would omit all or most of the cheese, and I wouldn’t cook it as long as Marcella does. I’ve come to think 18 minutes is long enough for most risotto.

    1. Danielle @Gustiamo says:

      Grazie Janet!

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