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Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis‘ Dirty Risotto is a spin on the Cajun classic of dirty rice.

While it features ground meat and chopped vegetables like the Louisiana original, the chef’s version has a distinctly Italian flair.

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis wears a black shirt in this photograph.
Giada De Laurentiis | Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

De Laurentiis’ Dirty Risotto is a spin on a Cajun dish

The chef’s recipe calls for reduced-sodium chicken broth, butter, chopped pancetta, spicy Italian sausage with casings removed, Arborio rice, dry white wine, grated Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley, onion, red bell pepper, and button mushrooms.

Dirty rice is a Cajun dish featuring, of course, rice and ground meat, as well as chopped vegetables. It gets its unusual name from the manner in which the rice takes on a darker color thanks to the small pieces of meat interspersed throughout.

The chef’s meal is a quick weeknight recipe

In her cookbook Everyday Italian, De Laurentiis explains that “the key to a good risotto” is all about the rice.

“Arborio, a short-grain variety, is my choice for a creamy, velvety risotto,” she writes. “Another key to a successful risotto is the gradual addition of the cooking liquid. Unlike many rice dishes, for risotto you don’t combine a set amount of rice with a set amount of liquid and cook it all together.”

With most risotto recipes, including Dirty Risotto, the liquid is added “in small increments, stirring all the while and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid for about 20 minutes.”

For this recipe, De Laurentiis sautes the pancetta and sausage “until golden brown,” followed by the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms. The arborio rice is stirred in and the arrival of the wine begins the process of liquid, stirring until it’s evaporated, more liquid, more stirring, and so on. The broth is added a half-cup at a time, “stirring constantly, and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next.”

The complete process, she says, should take about 30 minutes total. After that, it’s taken off of the heat, and the grated Parmesan cheese is stirred in and served immediately with parsley and more Parmesan sprinkled over each serving.

The chef’s recipe illustrates her philosophy on risotto, as she continued in her cookbook, “You can add just about anything you want to basic risotto: prosciutto, vegetables such as peas, seafood such as shrimp, or herbs and other seasonings such as saffron.”

Get the complete recipe and reviews on Food Network’s site.


Giada De Laurentiis’ Everyday Caponata

Home cooks loved the Italian-American chef’s spin on dirty rice

Rice, meat, and veggies: is there any combination more satisfying and easy? Not really, according to Food Network reviewers.

“I made this dish for some roommates and myself, and we loved it so much that there was no more left for the next day! I recommend this to anyone who loves to entertain, it’s a fabulous combination of spicy and Italian flavors, they complement the dish so well,” one home cook wrote.

Another person commended the chef on her successful version of dirty rice: “I found this to be the best recipe of GDL that I have had. It’s very creative and stretches you away from the traditional risottos. This dish has inspired me to mix and match many of my favorite Creole/Cajun elements with risotto.”