One-Pot Italian Sausage and Rice in Tomato Sauce

An incredibly simple, flavorful one-pot dish of sweet and spicy Italian sausage cooked with rice, wine, and pureed tomatoes, creating its own wonderful tomato sauce.


THE RECIPE


Italian Sausage and Rice in Tomato Sauce

(makes about 4-6 servings)

Don’t forget to check out my Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions at the bottom of the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 Italian sausages (whichever you like: plain, hot, sweet)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • one 28-oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, pureed (or the equivalent of any tomato sauce you prefer)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups white Basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp chopped, fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (basil would be delicious, as well)

Directions

  1. Set a 3-quart or larger saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the oil and sausages, browning on all sides. This should only take a few minutes.
  3. Transfer the meat to a plate.
  4. Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add half the chicken stock and all of the wine, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  6. Turn the heat to high and reduce by half, about three minutes.
  7. Add the remaining chicken stock, tomato sauce, herbs, salt, pepper, and rice, stirring briefly to combine.
  8. Place the sausages back in the pan, slipping them below the liquid and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  9. Flip the sausages over and continue to cook for another ten minutes.
  10. Once done, you’ll find the sausages simply sitting atop a bed of rice and thick tomato sauce.
  11. Ensure your rice and meat are fully cooked and serve!

Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions

Chicken Stock: Make sure you like your chicken stock. I’m willing to bet a lot of people don’t really consider whether the stock tastes good, but simply buy what’s available or what’s well-known. But it makes a huge difference in the outcome of your food. I buy Kitchen Basics for all my stocks because it always gives me a delicious result. I bought Swanson’s once because that’s all that was available and I actually ended up throwing out my rice because I thought it tasted terrible. Do yourself a favor, try a few different stocks/broths to see what tastes good to you. Or go one step further and make your own; it’s actually very easy and tastes better than anything on the shelf! Not to mention the health benefits 🙂

Red Wine: As always, choose a wine you like best. Most meats are versatile enough that any wine will taste perfectly good with it, so don’t worry about what goes best with Italian sausage. I almost always just use what I have on hand.

White Basmati Rice: This isn’t strict. You should realize that you can replace any rice in just about any recipe with whatever you have on hand, it just may taste or feel a little different, but it will absolutely work. What I’d worry most about is the length of the grain; long would be best so that the rice doesn’t all stick together.

Herbs: Don’t be afraid to play around with the herbs, even adding spices. Think about what you love with tomatoes or what’s in your favorite tomato sauce and feel free to add that. Always play around with recipes to make them your own.

Cooking Method: There are various cooking options for this type of meal, so remember that you can try different methods. Cook it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Don’t want to turn the sausage? Slice it before putting it back in the pan. I didn’t put a lid on the pan for this because I was afraid the sauce wouldn’t cook down, but by all means, go ahead and try that–maybe leave it a bit ajar so steam can escape, but the sausages cook evenly without needing to be flipped. Your results may differ slightly depending on what you do, but experimentation is always worth the desired end result.

Other Ingredients: Remember that you can experiment with other flavors, using different meat, vegetables, and liquid. If you’re looking for something particularly easy, just brown some meat, add your liquids to the pan to deglaze, throw in the rice, browned meat, and whole (but washed) vegetables and place in a 375-400 degree oven for as long as it should take to cook your meat! Likely 20-40 minutes, depending (20 would be sausages, 40 would be bone-in chicken thighs). If your meat is finished before the rice, simply remove it and place the rice back in the oven to finish it off. It’s worth it to experiment and find a really easy, delicious dish.


THE STORY


I’m so proud of this dish, yet so sad that I didn’t get a photograph. I was too keen to eat and skipped the entire process, though I am known to photograph everything I do, just in case! Looking through older pictures, I see tons of dishes with no clue as to what they are…which is even more unfortunate. But here we have the opposite dilemma and a far less saddening one. Perhaps, next time I make the dish, which will surely be again, I can take a nice picture! Until then, let me tell you what I did.

My inspiration came from Gina Neely’s “Get Yo’ Man Chicken,” a really flavorful dish of chicken in tomato sauce. It’s fairly incredible, let me tell you. She puts a decent amount of herbs and lemon pepper into the sauce, which cooks with the chicken, leaving you with a massive punch of flavor and some really moist meat. I love it! In Gina’s dish, you soften onions, brown chicken thighs, and cook it all in tomato sauce; then you serve it alongside buttered rice. For mine, you pretty much do the same thing, but replace the chicken with Italian sausage and add a bunch of rice to the mixture to create a truly “one pot” dish. What you’re left with is a pot full of rice and sausage that’s absolutely covered in a really flavorful tomato sauce. I’m just not sure how this could be simpler or create less of a mess to clean up later! It was a really exciting moment for me 🙂

This dish is so versatile, too, you can really do it with any combination of meat, vegetables, and liquid that you like. All you have to do is make sure that you have enough liquid for the rice to absorb and heat coming from above and below so that your meat and vegetables are fully cooked on all sides–solution, cook your meal in the oven or with a lid on the pot on the stove top. This particular dish was cooked on the stove top without a lid, but that was because I was afraid the tomato sauce wouldn’t cook down properly without the intense heat of the burner or the ability to evaporate and thicken. The next time I make this, however, I’m going to try putting it in a 400 degree oven for the same period of time and see what happens. I’m confident the results will be the same!

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