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calendar11 October 2017

Author: Ellie Mackenzie

Budget recipe binder: Ellie’s risotto con funghi e salsiccia

Budget recipe binder: Ellie’s risotto con funghi e salsiccia

Hi! I’m a CAP caseworker, Italian born and bread bred (oops, getting ahead of myself!) and I’m here to talk about food.

When I was thinking about what Italian recipe I should share with you, I realised that it had to be a first course (primo = pasta or rice). So here it is: my risotto con funghi e salsiccia.

I’d love to tell you how pasta is more than just a meal to us Italians; more than sustainment or something quick to put together. Pasta is an institution (and my team at CAP HQ have heard me say this time and time again!) But I won’t get into the details of what makes it such a special thing – today we’re talking about rice!

And don’t worry, the name might sound fancy but the great thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can make my version for less than than 53p per serving.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 5 – 6
Total cost: £2.64*

Six sausages (36p – £1.19 per kg)
250g chestnut mushrooms (£1)
500g Risotto Arborio rice (£1 - £2 per kg)
One red onion, finely chopped (21p)
Olive oil (Few pence – £1.50 per 500ml)
One vegetable stock cube (5p – 50p per 10 cubes)
Dash of white wine (optional)
Grated cheese (optional)


  • First let’s prep the ingredients. When I cook pasta or rice with sausages, I always prefer to remove the casing first. I promise this is actually very easy if you use your hands, and it will make the difference! Follow this by breaking the sausages up into small pieces, and put aside.
  • Wash and chop the mushrooms, get your favourite spices out, and then prepare the vegetable stock with a litre of boiling water.
  • Now for the foundation: il soffritto. This is the first stage of most dishes, and it involves lightly frying the onion in lots of olive oil.
  • Once the onions have browned, add the sausages and white wine (if using). When the sausages begin to brown, add the mushrooms and some salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add your rice and give it all a stir.
  • Now the secret to the perfect risotto is in the frequent stirring and stock-adding process. On a medium heat, add enough stock to cover your ingredients, stir, and cover. You’ll need to keep checking on your rice, stirring, and adding more stock to prevent it from burning. This, and the use of Risotto rice, is what’s going to make it creamy. Who needs to add actual cream? (By the way, no one does that. An Italian grandma somewhere misses a beat when someone adds cream to risotto).
  • The whole process should take about 25 minutes and you’ll have to judge the amount of stock needed depending on your rice.
  • When the rice is cooked, it should look lovely and creamy. Take it off the heat, stir in a bit of butter and enjoy it with parmigiano (or any type of grated cheese) if you fancy.

I’d love to know your experience if you try this recipe yourself – drop us a comment below!

*Prices from Tesco, correct at time of publishing

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