Recipe: Italian Sausage & Oven Roasted Eggplant Farro Risotto

Being a restaurant owner (and self-proclaimed foodie!) led me to add ‘write a cookbook’ to my bucket list, and this recipe could easily be one to make the cut. As the cold weather hits my Northern California home, I’m always looking for hearty comfort food, especially if it reminds me of my travels to Italy. I could easily spend an entire rainy afternoon scrolling through the pages of La Cucina Italiana to get inspiration from their mouth-watering recipes. Then I get into the kitchen to whip up something with all the ingredients that I’m craving. Today it is sausage and eggplant.

One of the last memories I have is of my Italian nonna standing in the kitchen making sausage stuffed pizza dough (and it was delicious!), so anything with sausage has a special place in my heart.

I have been a lover of eggplant ever since tasting my moms layered eggplant parmigiana—my mouth waters just thinking about it. Since then, I’ll eat it any way I can: fried, stuffed, baked or grilled. But, roasted eggplant is one of my favorite ways to indulge because it is easy to do at home, and tastes just as yummy as the others.

Farro is an ancient whole grain that is packed with nutrients. The nuttiness of farro adds a new twist to an old classic and one more layer of comfort.

Italian Sausage & Oven Roasted Eggplant Farro Risotto

Serves 4

3  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cups farro
1/2 cup caramelized red onions (recipe below)
2 cups roasted eggplant—about 1 medium sized, diced (recipe below)
1 cup Pinot Grigio
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more to garnish
1 tablespoon butter
kosher salt
flat leaf parsley, garnish

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Crumble sausage into pan. Cook until there is no pink and starts to brown.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, shallot and garlic to the pan with the sausage. Cook until shallot is translucent and garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add Farro and toast for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir in caramelized onions and eggplant. Add wine and cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil then simmer for approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until Farro is tender.
  5. Add cream, parmesan, butter, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Garnish with Flat leaf Parsley and shaved parmesan to serve.

Roasted Eggplant

1 Eggplant
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment. Cut the eggplant in 1-inch rounds and brush both sides generously with oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange on prepared pan and roast in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until brown. Slightly cool and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Caramelized Onions

2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 red onions, sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low. Add vinegar and honey. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Did you try this recipe? Let me know in the comments.

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Recipe: Italian Sausage & Oven Roasted Eggplant Farro Risotto
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