This tasty Italian Sausage Rice Pilaf is an incredible way to rock your side dish options. It’s amazing as an accompaniment alongside chicken or pork and also serves as a mighty tasty bed for grilled kabobs. It’s packed with flavor and if I had to make a comparison it would be to that New Orleans classic we Southerners love, Cajun dirty rice. This Italian rice pilaf is topped with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts making it a dish that’s delicious and company worthy.
My life is incredibly busy so I’m no different from you in that I tend to gravitate to easy side dish recipes. As things usually happen in my kitchen, this dish was born out of a need to put dinner on the table using the ingredients I already had on hand. While I love making, eating and serving Cajun dirty rice this particular day I needed an Italian side dish in a hurry. Fortunately, my family loves Italian flavors and rice so I knew they would likely take to this pilaf, too. I just love it when I make the right call and everyone’s happy. I think they could have eaten this Italian sausage laced rice pilaf as the entire meal without a single complaint. The ease of preparation includes the fact that it reheats beautifully making it perfect for make-ahead meal prep and stress-free entertaining.
See it at The Weekend Potluck here
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- Olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb Sweet Italian sausage
- 2 cups long grain rice, uncooked
- 1 (32) oz low sodium chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp fresh chopped Italian parsley, divided
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp dry Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp garlic salt
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnishing
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and cool.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook the onion and red bell pepper in a couple of drizzles of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes until softened and beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic to the skillet cooking for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the sausage. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Drain all but 2 Tbsp drippings from the pan.
- Add the uncooked rice to the sausage and stir to coat with the drippings. Cook for 1-2 minutes to allow the rice to brown slightly.
- Add the chicken broth, 1 Tbsp parsley, Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and red pepper flakes. Mix well.
- Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to simmer. Simmer covered for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from the heat. Rest for 5 minutes covered on the counter.
- Just before serving mix-in the Parmesan cheese, butter and remaining parsley. Stir well.
- Serve immediately garnished with toasted pine nuts and a sprinkle of additional Parmesan cheese.