Sausage-Meat Risotto

It is impossible to make any of the many dishes of Italian peasant cuisine that use fresh pig’s blood unless you live near a pig farmer or are brave enough to go to the slaughterhouse yourself. I know it sounds primitive, but I promise you the end result is delicious and very nutritious.


  • ¼ of a boiling fowl or equivalent chicken trimmings
  • 450 g (1 lb) pork ribs (as meaty as possible)
  • salt
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 100 g ( oz) butter
  • 75 g ( oz) Italian sausage-meat
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 400 g (14 oz) risotto rice
  • 1 wineglass, about 125 ml (4 fl oz), fresh pig’s blood, still warm (optional)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve


Put the boiling fowl or trimmings and the ribs in a large saucepan with a little salt and 1.5 litres ( pints) water and bring to a slow boil, then simmer for about 2 hours. Remove meat and leave to cool: keep the broth hot.

Fry half the onion and half the butter with the sausage-meat. Scrape the meat off the pork ribs and chicken and mince it once, or chop very finely, then mix with the onion and sausage. Season with black pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Fry the remaining half onion in the remaining butter until the onion is soft. Add the rice and stir well. Fry it lightly, then start adding the hot broth, a ladleful at a time, stirring it into the rice each time. After 15 minutes, stir in the blood, if using, or the cooked meats with the onion. (If you are using the blood do not add the meat at this stage.) Add a little more broth and cook for the final 5 minutes.

Turn out on to a platter, scatter the meat on top if not already added, and serve with plenty of Parmesan cheese. If you do use the blood, you will find the dish turns a lovely brick red colour and changes completely in flavour. Serve with a good bottle of Barolo or Barbaresco.