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Swiss Chard and Sausage Risotto


Swiss Chard and Sausage Risotto

This Swiss chard and sausage risotto has a rich flavor that’s underlined by the earthiness of bitter greens. It’s the perfect dish for cooler nights!

Swiss Chard & Sausage Risotto //

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Risotto is one of my go-to dishes for nights when I realize at 5pm I have nothing planned for dinner. Contrary to its reputation, risotto comes together quickly and easily, especially when you keep the required staples—rice, cheese, and stock—on hand.

Often, when I make risotto, I improvise based on what I have in the fridge and pantry. What you need to make an outstanding risotto is an ingredient to highlight. Be it cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, shrimp, or crab, all you need is quality produce to start with. All you have to do then is simply add flavorings that pair well with your central ingredient—fresh herbs, spices, lemon, and so on—and you’re sure to create a rewarding, satisfying dish.

Creamy risotto, a blank canvas for fresh ingredients and flavors //

Over time, I’ve built a mental list of the ingredients I like using in risotto the most. I can keep many of these in the freezer, which means I can always make risotto in a snap. Knowing this is comforting to me (there’s nothing like that first forkful of steamy, cheesy risotto!) and saves me from ordering out more often than not.

Sausage is one of the ingredients I most love to use when making risotto. I buy quality Italian-style sausages and keep them in the freezer so they are readily available for impromptu soups, pasta, and of course, sausage risotto. What I like about using sausage in risotto is that the meat is already flavored, and browning it in the pan you’ll be using to make the risotto adds tons of depth to the dish. Sautéed sausage is a flavor foundation you can build on.

My favorite vegetable to combine with sausage is bitter greens. Since I always keep sausage in the freezer, I keep my eyes peeled at the market and if I see beautiful bunches of Swiss chard, I know what’s for dinner that night: Swiss chard and sausage risotto.

A bunch of Swiss chard, a bitter green that's a great addition to risotto //

Swiss chard is a leafy green you can eat raw in salads or cooked in pasta, soups, and a host of other dishes. Raw, it has a bitter flavor that adds dimensions to salads. Cooked, that bitterness fades away and the flavor of Swiss chard turns sweet and mild, similar to spinach. Unlike spinach, though, Swiss chard retains texture once cooked, which makes it really enjoyable to eat, especially in this risotto.

This Swiss chard and sausage risotto is filled with robust, aromatic flavors, which makes it the most comforting dish for cooler nights. Curling up into a blanket and digging into this cheesy dish is guaranteed to warm your heart and soul!

Swiss Chard & Sausage Risotto //

Helpful Tips for Making this Sausage Risotto

My golden risotto-making rule: The very best ingredients make the very best risotto

As is often the case with simple, Italian-inspired dishes, using the very best ingredients you can get your hands on or afford makes the biggest difference in terms of the flavor of your final dish. In this sausage risotto, I encourage you to use low-sodium broth, or even use homemade broth if you have some on hand, as it most likely will impart a softer, milder flavor to the risotto.

Also, use quality risotto rice for the creamiest textureArborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano are all good picks—and please, please, please, only use Parmigiano-Reggiano as your cheese of choice. Learn why Parmigiano-Reggiano is my cheese of choice for most risotto, but especially for this comforting sausage risotto, below!

When you make risotto, don’t skimp on Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmigiano-Reggiano has a sharp, nutty, salty flavor that lends a ton of flavor and an unforgettable creaminess to risotto. No need to add extra butter or cream to your risotto when you use the real stuff! Authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano is controlled under a Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (protected designation of origin), which means it has to be produced in a specific way in specific regions of Italy to be awarded the name. Authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano has a stamped rind, is aged at least 12 months, and is usually labeled with its original Italian name (as opposed to just “parmesan.”) Yes, Parmigiano-Reggiano is more expensive than cheese products labeled parmesan, but you don’t need a lot to make your dishes extra special. Save it for recipes that make the most of its unique flavor, such as this sausage risotto!

Parmigiano Reggiano, an Italian cheese with a inimitable sharp, nutty, salty flavor //
Photo: Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano

No Swiss Chard? No Problem.

You can use any swiss chard variety in this sausage risotto: ruby, rainbow, yellow, and so on. The name of the varieties comes from the brightly colored stems of the leafy green. You can use them interchangeably in this recipe.

If you can’t find swiss chard, substitute large spinach leaves, which will retain the best texture in this creamy sausage risotto.

Chopped Swiss chard, a bitter green leafy vegetable //

How to Scale Up this sausage risotto recipe to serve more guests

Most risotto recipes serve 4 to 6, with ingredient quantities that are hard to split into halves or thirds. This has always annoyed me because I usually make risotto for 2 people. So I’m writing all my risotto recipes to serve 2, which means the math is easier to scale up the ingredients to serve 4 or 6 guests. Note that this sausage risotto recipe produces a generous 2-serving yield—you could stretch it to 3 servings if this dish is part of a more elaborate menu that includes appetizers and sides.

Swiss Chard & Sausage Risotto //

Swiss Chard and Sausage Risotto

ThisSwiss chard and sausage risotto has a rich flavor that’s underlined by the earthiness of bitter greens. It’s the perfect dish for cooler nights!
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes
Total Time:35 minutes
Servings 2 servings


To Serve (optional)


  • In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer, then keep warm over low heat.
  • In a large saute pan or a cast-iron braiser set over medium-low heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the shallot and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. 
  • Add the risotto rice and stir for 2 minutes, until the grains are translucent around the edges. Add the wine and stir vigorously while the wine is bubbling up, scraping down the bottom of the pan to loosen the caramelized bits. Simmer until the wine is fully absorbed.
    Add 1 ladleful of the broth and simmer, stirring from time to time, until the broth is almost completely absorbed.
  • Continue adding broth, one ladleful at a time, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before adding more, making sure to mix in the chopped Swiss chard after 10 minutes of cooking time.
  • When there's about ½ cup (125 ml) broth left, stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated. Season with black pepper, taste the risotto, and season with salt if needed. Stir in the remaining broth and the basil. The risotto should now be loose and super creamy. Cover and turn off the heat. The risotto can stand for about 5 minutes but should be served as soon as possible for the best texture.
  • SERVING: Serve the sausage risotto in warm bowls, then garnish each serving with a drizzle of flavorful extra-virgin olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper, and fresh basil leaves, if desired.
  • STORAGE: This sausage risotto is best enjoyed within minutes of being made. If you do have leftovers, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To reheat, transfer to a nonstick skillet, add a couple tablespoonfuls of broth or water and warm up over medium-low until the risotto is loose and hot. Serve immediately.
  • MAKE IT VEGETARIAN: Use vegetable stock and substitute diced plant-based italian-style sausage, such as Beyond Sausage.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


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Recipe Rating

  1. I’m always looking for a good risotto recipe, and you got me with the Swiss chard, which is one of my favorite green leaves veggie. I loved the texture and everything in this risotto, and I know I’ll make it again and again!

  2. 5 stars
    I make a similar risotto with sausage, kale and sundried tomatoes – and it remains one of my husband’s favorite dishes. Well, when I made your recipe, he said it’s good enough to rival mine. So this one is definitely a keeper.

  3. 5 stars
    I had some risotto rice to use up and this was the perfect use! I loved all the flavor and how simple it was. A real winner, thanks!

  4. This risotto looks incredibly rich and tasty and I appreciate that a vegetarian version is include as well.

  5. 5 stars
    Turned out fantastic. I did make a few substitutions as I am non-dairy and meatless but I’m telling you no one in my family knew the difference.

  6. 5 stars
    This Swiss chard and sausage risotto is amazing and so easy to make . Win Win in my books. My whole family loved this , even my picky eater. I will be making this over and over.