Chorizo and Manchego Risotto

A little bit Spanish and a little bit Italian, this Chorizo and Manchego Risotto is the perfect dreamy combination of risotto and paella. It’s got the luscious creaminess and ease of a perfect pot of Italian risotto with the bold Spanish flavors of chorizo, saffron, and aged Manchego cheese.

This crowd-pleasing recipe takes a little bit of time to make, but they’re easy relaxing minutes that require little more than some simple stirring. I love playing music and getting lost in the gentle rhythms as the rice steadily thickens into the perfect creamy pot of goodness. 

This is the second recipe in my sponsored collaboration with Carolina® rice. (If you haven’t seen it yet, click on over to the cinnamon-scented Mexican horchata ice cream I whipped up last month!) I teamed up with Carolina® to share monthly recipes using their many varieties of rice.


For this month’s easy rice recipe, I’m using Carolina® Arborio rice, which is a starchy medium grain rice that’s most commonly used to make risotto, as well as other dishes like rice pudding, paella, and rice stews.

Unlike other rice dishes that call for loose, fluffy grains of rice cooked in water, risotto is cooked slowly in simmering broth added a cup at a time, in a process that allows for the natural starches to release and create a naturally creamy dish that’s enhanced with the addition of ingredients like butter and cheese.

For this Chorizo and Manchego Risotto recipe, I used the classic Italian technique, but swapped in Spanish ingredients. Traditional risotto is typically finished with a process called adding the “mantecatura,” which consists of quickly stirring in butter and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into the hot rice just before serving. Instead of butter, I stir in the rendered chorizo fat along with grated sharp aged Manchego cheese, allowing the two to melt and coat the tender grains of rice.

The result is decadent and packed with smoky flavor. The smoked paprika, saffron, and chorizo fat add gorgeous color, making it a perfect sunny entrée to serve at parties or weekend meals. If you and your family love chorizo, you will adore this Spanish-inspired risotto!


Chorizo and  Manchego Risotto
Serves 6

Ingredients
Olive oil
1 pound Spanish chorizo, sliced
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2  cups Carolina® Arborio Rice
1/2 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon smoked spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup grated manchego cheese

Directions
Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced chorizo and cook 3-5  minutes, or until slightly crisped and rendered. Remove from heat.

Place a heavy bottom pot (such as a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add two tablespoons olive oil and the diced onions. Sauce 5-10 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant (2 minutes). Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil and onions. Cook 2 minutes. Add the sherry or wine and let simmer until completely absorbed.

In a separate pot, combine the broth, saffron, paprika, red pepper, and 3 teaspoons of kosher salt, and bring to a gentle simmer.

Add the seasoned hot broth to the rice, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Adjust heat so the rice stays at a low simmer.

Once all the broth has been added and the rice is creamy and just barely tender, remove from heat. Add the chorizo with any fat in the pan and stir into the rice. Add the cheese and stir in until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt as needed.

Serve immediately with additional grated manchego on top.

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