Since returning from our vacation last month, I haven’t really been incredibly motivated to cook.  But, now that we’ve been home for a few weeks, the creativity is starting to return.  As we haven’t had risotto in a while, I decided to empty the pantry one night by making a dish that included leeks, carrots, and peas and tie it all together with some saffron and good quality balsamic vinegar.  Pairing the risotto with some chicken sausages makes for a nice homey weeknight meal.


  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar plus more for plating
  • 4 cups chicken, veal, or vegetable stock
  • 1 small pinch saffron threads
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 cup peas
  • a very large handful grated Parmaggiano Regianno
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 chicken sausages per person


Heat  the stock and saffron threads in a saucepan.  Bring it to a simmer and maintain over a low heat. 

In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan, heat the olive oil and add the shallot and leeks and saute until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the arborio and stir until each grain is translucent with a white dot on the center, about 3 minutes. 

Add the white wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.  Add the simmering stock to the pan a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition.  Wait until the stock is almost, but not completely, absorbed before adding the next ladleful of stock.  Toward the end of the stirring process, add the carrots and peas and stir together. 


Meanwhile, heat more olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the sausages, and cook through.  Remove from the pan when they’re done and reserve

When the rice looks creamy and is tender to the bite, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Plate by adding a bit of risotto to the middle of a plate and drizzle with a bit more balsamaic vinegar. 

Stack the sausages on top of the risotto, top with more ground pepper and sprinkle with a touch more parmaggianno regianno, and drizzle with even more balsamic vinegar if desired!