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TASTE : Food & Drink

Risotto with Cavolo Nero & Salsiccia

by Arturo Dori

This comforting and nourishing risotto is just what you need to keep away the winter chill!  Kale, known as cavolo nero in Italian is a favourite staple in many Tuscan homes during the colder months.  Used in the hearty soup, Ribollita, it also makes a wonderful pesto and pairs perfectly with salty pork sausages - you can sub pasta for the rice in this recipe and if you're feeling really adventurous, make your own fresh pasta and mix a bit of pesto into the dough!

Your family and friends will not leave the table hungry - best served with a glass of red and an open fire!

Ingredients - Serves 4

Vegetable broth

1 bunch of Cavolo Nero / Kale

3-4 Italian Pork sausages

1 small clove of garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

300 grams of Risotto Rice-Vialone Nano or Carnaroli

Parmesan Cheese, grated



Bring vegetable broth to the boil.


Prepare the kale by removing the centre stalks.

Add to boiling water for approx 10 minutes.

Drain then add garlic, salt and olive oil.

Blend until a smooth puree and set aside.

Remove skin from the sausages and break into small meatballs.  Add to a fry-pan with a few tbsp of oil until brown, then set aside.

Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in your saucepan and add the rice.  Sautè until the rice changes colour then add the broth - just enough to cover the rice and the pesto.  Stir briefly then let simmer (without stirring) until the broth is absorbed.

Continue adding a little broth, stirring only just to blend.  Once the rice has cooked but risotto is still a creamy liquid, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes.

The next step is the most important and will ensure that your risotto is nice and creamy but not a gluggy blob of starch!

Add a good slug of extra virgin olive oil and about 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan.  Whisk or stir continuously to combine - this action releases the starch from the rice to give your risotto its lovely creamy texture.  Add the sausage and serve.

Add salt to taste but it shouldn’t be necessary as the pesto and sausage are both quite salty

risotto ingredients
risotto with cavolo nero

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Ciao, I'm Lisa B,
I’m a magazine founder & editor, a private food & shopping guide and watercolour artist who wants to share everything I know about the best-kept secrets in Tuscany with you.

I created This Tuscan Life blog, magazine and experiences to share everything I love about Florence & Tuscany, one of the most popular and visited regions in Italy.   Add a splash of watercolour & you've got a creative mamma of two who wants to show you the true & authentic side of Tuscany.

Learn more

I will never forget my joy when many years ago, I found my very first porcino mushroom. I really couldn’t believe my eyes when after what seemed like endless hours of climbing up and down a mountainside in the hills above Pistoia, about an hour from Florence.

On a clear day in late February, just before Italy went into lockdown, I set off from Florence to Podere il Casale, an organic, family-run farm located in the breathtakingly beautiful area of the Val D’Orcia. The property, located about ten minutes from the Renaissance town of Pienza has been owned by Swiss-born, Ulisse Braendli and his wife Sandra, for the last thirty years.


A creative, food & fashion loving mamma of two boys with a passion for all things Italian. 


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