Springtime Orzo Risotto with Sausage

Springtime Orzo Risotto with Sausage


Chef Jim May prepares a quick and simple dish that hits all the notes of springtime – A creamy orzo that makes for a lighter version of risotto. This dish comes together in 20 minutes and is a delightful Spring lunch or dinner that pairs perfectly with our 2019 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.

Ingredients and Directions

Serves 4-6


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage
  • ½ c. shallots. Finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c. fennel bulb, diced
  • 4-5 c. chicken stock, simmering in another pot
  • 1½ c. orzo
  • 10 oz. frozen peas
  • 3 c. arugula
  • ¾ c. Mascarpone cheese
  • ½ c. Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste



Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and when hot, add sausage and cook until done(about 8 minutes). Remove to a plate and let cool slightly. Slice sausage into ¼ rounds and set aside.

Add shallots and garlic to the same pan, adding more oil if necessary. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring so it softens but does not brown. Add fennel and 4 cups of heated stock and bring to a boil.

Stir in the orzo and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring often so it does not stick on the bottom.

Add sausage and peas and cook for 2-3 minutes more. If too dry, add more stock. The orzo should be creamy not soupy. Remove from heat.

Fold in arugula and Mascarpone, stirring until incorporated with the orzo. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, top with chopped fennel sprigs and enjoy with our 2019 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.