Tonight's Dinner: Sausage risotto

May 17, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. ET

Usually jarred marinara sauce is reserved for those quick and easy spaghetti recipes when you have no time and just want to get dinner on the table. But, if you do have a little extra time, add the sauce to some arborio rice and have a hearty risotto for dinner instead.

As I posted last week, I like to use jarred marinara sauces sometimes; they are quick and easy and don't need to be reserved for spaghetti. Last week, I poured it over polenta. Today, I'm using it as the base for a risotto dish.

I like risotto almost as much as I like polenta, but what I don't like about it is the amount of time it takes to make. Continuously having to add and stir the wine and chicken stock until all the liquid is absorbed can take more than an hour sometimes; not to mention that standing over a hot stove stirring can make it seem like your arm's gonna fall off at any moment. However, this recipe from Parents Magazine makes cooking risotto as easy as can be. Instead of adding and stirring and adding and stirring, you just add and stir once and then throw everything in the oven. It couldn't be simpler. Better yet, the end result tastes delicious.

Sausage Risotto


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound sausage, crumbled and skin removed
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large ovenproof pan, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add sausage and sauté until browned, about 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in rice and cook for 1 minute; stir in wine, broth, marinara sauce, water, peas, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil; cover and transfer to the oven; bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Using a pot holder, transfer the pan to the stovetop and stir in the Parmesan cheese and basil until well mixed and cheese is melted. Spoon into bowls, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, and serve.

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