Sausage and Saffron Risotto

Close up of a risotto being stirred with a wooden spatula.

This Sausage and Saffron Risotto is the hearty, cosy and comforting risotto I’ve been making on repeat so far this autumn. Whilst last year I was all about amping my risotto rice up with mushrooms, this year as it has been getting so cold so quickly I’ve wanted something a bit more, which I’ve easily found with nutty nuggets of browned sausage meat, lifted with an aromatic, slightly exotic hit of saffron at the end which dyes the whole thing a beautiful yellow hue that just looks so pretty on the plate.

Blue casserole dish or yellow risotto.
Plate of sausage and saffron risotto sprinkled with grated parmesan.

It is no secret that J does not like risotto, so usually it is an indulgent treat I make with seasonal ingredients for myself when he’s away for the evening, but even he was a bit tempted by this when I made it to photograph and the smell of it cooking wafted up from the kitchen and into his office!

For me, this ‘indulgent’ nature of risotto makes it so I’m not at all hesitant about using fancy ingredients. I’ve got a lovely Crab & Green Pea Risotto in my book One Pan Pescatarian (ad), and whilst you may think it is a bit much using saffron here, the flavour really is strong enough to hold up to the sausage, even using just a little.

Risotto with sausage and saffron strands on a stone plate

Also, with the fat from the sausages this Sausage and Saffron Risotto is also super rich (I’ve found Field and Flower’s Pork, Sage & Black Pepper Sausages work really well here): I’ve used a little to garnish but unlike most risottos you won’t need to stir in any cheese at the end of cooking, for example, and I think adding fresh herbs at the end would be gilding the lily a little too much: however, if you just can’t help it, crispy sage leaves would be best here.

All you need to make it super creamy is a pat of butter, stirred in just at the end: always unsalted, you’ve already seasoned your risotto perfectly, so why throw things off now?

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Plate of sausage and saffron risotto sprinkled with grated parmesan.

Sausage and Saffron Risotto

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This simple Sausage and Saffron Risotto is rich and hearty, filled with meaty flavours and finished with just a whiff of saffron for an indulgent yet unusual finish.


  • generous pinch saffron
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 3 pork sausages
  • 1 small brown onion
  • sea salt
  • 150g (5 1/4 oz) risotto rice
  • 130ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
  • 600ml (2 1/2 cups) unseasoned or no salt chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
  • 25g (3/4 oz) unsalted butter
  • optional black pepper & grated parmesan, for serving


  1. Boil the kettle, and in a small jug pour 100ml (scant 1/2 cup) boiling water over the saffron and set aside to infuse.
  2. Heat the oil in the bottom of a shallow, heavy bottomed frying pan or casserole over a medium heat, and crumble in the sausage meat without their casings. Gently fry for 5 minutes, or until the sausage just starts to brown.
  3. Peel and finely chop the onion before stirring it into the sausage mixture, frying for another 8-10 minutes or so until the onion is soft, and the sausage meat is nutty and brown; it does not matter if you get brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, but just don’t let these burn!
  4. Stir in the rice and cook for another minute or two until the grains have heated through, and pour in the wine, using a wooden spoon or spatula to deglaze the bottom of the pan as it bubbles away.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium low, and gradually pour in the chicken stock, stirring every minute or so until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Add the saffron and the saffron soaking water, and cook again until the rice is just tender, and the risotto just holds its shape when you run the spoon through the bottom of the pan.
  6. Stir in the butter before seasoning to taste, and serving immediately divided between two warm bowls.


If you don’t have any white wine open, the flavours in this are robust enough to use any open rose wine you may have instead!