Red wine risotto with pork sausage

risotto, the ultimate Italian no-wheat marvel

There are days that change your life.
Have you ever wondered why so much of our lives is spent waiting for a situation to change?
Those days you wait so long for, they finally happen. This – in one or another way – is often a relief. In fact, for a few minutes, even hours if you are lucky, you don’t hang over the unknown. But then, after that fleeting moment, you are looking ahead again. The future with all its needs is calling you once more.
This week is that I have been diagnosed wheat and egg intolerance. I have known for years to be dairy intolerant. I don’t know if I am celiac, I will know it in a few weeks.
In any case for the moment I’m abstaining from eggs, pasta, bread, butter and cheese.I have been having bad digestion problems for so long that just knowing what I should eliminate from my diet is a relief.
Of course, it does feel like my world has gotten upside down. Me, that one who wanted to convince the world to make their own fresh pasta at least once a week. Me, that one who loves to cook for others, who basically exists on cooking for others.
The good news is that I can still cook for those I love. I’ll just need to make two menus now.

  • 500 gr. / 1 lb Italian fresh sausages, grilled
  • 250 ml / 1 cup good quality red wine
  • 1 lt / 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups arborio, vialone nano or carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or pecorino shavings
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Before starting please revise my risotto principles.

Grill the sausages, set aside and keep warm. I use our fantastic Umbrian sausages which are seasoned with garlic and black pepper but fennel seasoned sausages would also be great for this dish.

To make the risotto:

In a large pan over low heat,  sauté the onion in butter, extra virgin oil or a mixture of the two until tender, about 8 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium/high and add 2 tablespoon wine. Cook until absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the wine, one tablespoon at the time, stirring until it is absorbed.
Now lower the heat  and add 1/2 cup broth and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 4 minutes. After this initial stage you can continue to cook , adding more broth by ladlefuls and allowing liquid to be absorbed before adding more, stirring only after you have added the liquid.
When the rice is tender, but still has a bite, add more salt if necessary, 2 tablespoons Parmesan and once last ladleful of broth. For extra creaminess, add in 1 tablespoon cold diced butter which you need to stir vigorously. Cover and wait 5 min before serving.

To finish:

Serve topped with sliced sausages, a sprinkle of chopped parsley ans shavings of Parmesan or pecorino.
For a delicious dairy-free version omit the cheese and butter and serve with a drizzle of fruity extra virgin olive oil.
Serves 3-4


  1. Giving up pasta would be difficult for me, as I am sure it is for you. But with a whole world of rice dishes out there to enjoy, it’ll be a bit easier. All the best, Frank

  2. One day at a time, and just think of all the inventive recipes you will come up with now. This recipe is gorgeous, what a great addition – Umbrian sausages! We have them probably too many times a WEEK!
    I will have to find a way of doing risotto without rice! Any suggestions?
    If I think of a delicious recipe without all the things that make you feel so bad, I’ll speed it along to you! xxxxx

  3. E con ogni cambiamento che sembra deprimente e difficile, una nuova porta apre e scopriamo una nuova direzione. Scopriamo una nuova elasticità nella nostra personalità poi ci rendiamo conto che invece di essere un difficoltà è veramente un regalo perché troviamo nuovi punti di forza e una nuova strada e nuovi progetti che non avremmo mai scoperto prima! Forza. Immagino che le tue ricette saranno più creativi di prima! (se questo sia possibile 😉 )

  4. Oh, my goodness, Letizia. What an adjustment for you to make. But the good news is that you can still enjoy beautiful recipes like this red wine risotto. It’s making my mouth water. Mille grazie for the recipe and here’s to you feeling better!

  5. Letizia, I’m sorry that you have to go through all of this (altho it’s likely a relief to have a diagnosis!)
    But knowing what a clever and creative person you are, I have no doubt you’ll soon develop all kinds of wonderful recipes that your system can enjoy. Such as this recipe, which sounds so delicious!

  6. Letizia, you try all you can to discourage us to self-invite us to your place again. A quick note to say that you simply won’t succeed.
    I am always skeptical re. “intolleranze alimentari”. It seems that everybody has the same at a certain point in their life. And all doctors do is eliminate from your diet wheat, eggs, cheese, and often coffee and tea. I don’t know. I have the feeling that it’s just our body getting older and finding it hard to digest complex foods. Of course if you take all the stuff that is hard to digest there is less effort put on your system. I guess I don’t believe in intolleranze, but I have also been forced to change eating habits, going back to good old Mediterranean diet… little meat, more pulses, more whole grains, less cheese. :o) You know I have a special view of the world according to Gloria! LOL
    If you are gluten intollerant that’s another story, I hope you are not because that sucks.
    Anyway… the bottom line is: we are sad old bags! LOL Marcel and I hope to see you soon in the noble Tuscany countryside for a strictly vegetarian meal with no eggs, no wheat, no good things. Just good company!

  7. Ciao Glo, when you suffer for two years every day, I promise you you are ready to try anything. Said this, I also promise that I am ready to cook for you any time as long as you bring those famous cookies for which I am even ready to break my diet!

  8. Sorry you have to endure this but once it’s diagnosed — maybe then you can move on? You will create some divine recipes, I’m sure!

      • The only terrible thing about these brownies is that they have to chill overnight!
        113 g chocolate (unsweetened bar with no butterfat)
        87 g oil
        48 g nuts
        55 g white rice flour (I suspect you could use any flour)
        2 g salt
        154 g powdered sugar
        55 g water
        Heat the oven to 325F or 160C
        Weigh out the rice flour, nuts, and salt in a food processor and blend well, until the mixture looks like clumpy powder.
        Melt the oil and chocolate in a bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients. Mix in the powdered sugar first, then the flour mixture and the water.
        I put mine in a greased loaf pan and cook for 30 min or so, but it might also be good to use a smaller pan or double the recipe. They will look sort of wet and grainy, but don’t worry. Chill overnight, cut with a pizza cutter, and use something sturdy to pry them out of the pan.
        I think it may actually be impossible to feel deprived while eating these 😀

  9. That’s a terrible trick life has played on you. I hope your don’t have celiac disease, but if you do there are plenty of delicious dishes to make. I believe that most ailments can be cured with diet. One of my favorite books for a healthy diet that will correct most anything is titled “Death to Diabetes” . Look into it, it a great education in health. Wish you the best

  10. I wanted to write and say I am sorry for the loss of pasta and Parmesan from your life…
    Have you heard of quinoa? It is not wheat and can be used as rice, for a little bit of a change.
    I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
    Good luck and good health.

    • thank you so much Maite, I am really moved by all the wonderful supportive comments about my “new ” food intolerance. I have been spending every free moment looking for alternatives and I have realized that out there there is a wealth of interesting ingredients that would keep anybody happy, even people who can eat averything. I see this like the beginning of a new adventure!

  11. Jessica thank you for this wonderful brownies recipe, I am going to make it in the week end for friends, I am sure everybody will love them.
    Thank you also for taking the time to convert all the ingredients to grams, It’s very much appreciated!

    • My pleasure. I would like to take credit for being thoughtful, but I bake by weight. 😛 I made it to use one chocolate bar (at least, what one weighs here) hence the funny measurements.

  12. I am so flattered, but I’m blog-less. In fact, I consider it a good week if I don’t resort to any cellophane-wrapped food :-D. It is a pleasure to meet you too! I wandered over from another food blog, I think.
    I am curious to see how you will handle pasta. People seem to like this one: and I think you can sub water and oil for the egg. Maybe it’s easier to stick to the familiar ingredients for now, though! 🙂

    • Hi Jessica, I also love blogs, I think I spend more time reading other people’s blogs than working on my own!
      Thank you for the pasta recipe, I have been following Gluten Free Girl for quite sometime, she is amazing. I have just ordered a whole box of flours which are naturally gluten free. My idea is to develop a pasta recipe that uses European and if possible Italian ingredients to lower the carbon print of the recipes. Might take a while, but life is long 🙂

  13. That sounds awesome!
    I suspect my boyfriend may have celiac or a dairy intolerance, which is how I got interested in all of this. I think you have lots of inspiration, but here were some of the first things I ran to:
    Mostly simple and quick foods. I found Asian and Indian helpful to ward off boredom. I’m not sure if you can still have butter, but if not, infused oil may lessen the pain 🙂 I like to combine a big pile of garlic and onion and a lot of oil, bring to a fast bubble for just a second, then turn down and slow-saute for 30 min or so and separate the solid from the liquid. I keep the oil in the fridge too, just to be safe. The smell of the infused oil is unbelievable (better than butter, I swear :-D), and it’s great for cooking chicken breasts and stuff where chunks of garlic would burn. It’s still good for cooking with– since you infuse it over such a low temperature, it doesn’t break down much during the infusion. And it’s so lazy, but I love not having to chop onion and garlic every time I cook.
    Can’t wait to read about your pasta adventures 🙂

    • Hi Jessica, we do produce fantastic extra virgin olive oil, so I am a slave to good olive oil and I can hardly cook with no garlic unless is a dessert!
      If your boyfriend suspects to be celiac, he better gets tested fast. Easting wheat as an intolerant person is bad, but as a celiac is very dangerous.
      I have not started with the pasta making yet. I am waiting for a big shipment of alternative flours. We live in a rural area and I have to order fancy ingredients on internet. I am itching to start though because when our B&B season starts I will have no more time!

  14. I have just found your blog through The American In Italia. I am Napolitano & Siciliano, and have been eating copious amounts of bread and homemade pasta all my life. I love bread. I used to tell people, if I ever got stuck on an island, bread would be my choice.
    And then I was diagnosed with the exact same thing you have, except no egg intolerance. I am vegetarian though, which makes my choices very restricted. I have only been off wheat a few weeks now.
    I am so sorry to hear the same thing has happened to you, but perhaps we can inspire one another. I cook all the time, except no blog. Anyway, grazie, grazie, grazie mille for embarking on Italian gluten-free recipes. And, if you aren’t Celiac (you probably aren’t), I hear that after a while you can have a little wheat now and again.

    • Hi Agatha
      thank you so much for visiting. Looks like my situation and yours are very similar. I have been off wheat now for nearly two months and I can tell you that I have gotten read of he chronic headaches that have been plaguing me for the past two years. So even though it is a sacrifice, I am happy I discovered that I have wheat-intolerance, at least I cam do something about it. Luckily I have also figured out that I am not celiac which is a big relief.
      Another positive side of this problem is that I am discovering lots of new and interesting ingredients. Food is still going to be fun, one never stops learning!

Comments are closed.