This one-pot sausage and orzo recipe is the perfect combination of hot Italian sausage, parsnips, and creamy whipped ricotta. It’s a perfect one-pot orzo recipe. This recipe is for you if you’ve been looking for a sausage and parsnip recipe or just have an overabundance of parsnips that you want to work through!
This isn’t exactly a conventional sausage and orzo recipe, but it’s one that’s definitely worth adding to your winter rotation. Instead of a more traditional garlic, onion, tomatoes, sausage, and orzo combination, it uses celery and parsnips as the aromatic base. Truthfully, the reason is that I had not a single allium to my name when I originally developed this recipe. It worked out so well and forced me to use different vegetables to create a gorgeous, earthy, aromatic flavor profile.
The recipe components are quite simple. First, I make a simple recipe for sausage and orzo. It’s just a few quick steps which I’ll outline below. While the pasta cooks, I make up a quick whipped ricotta recipe. The whipped ricotta is spooned onto plates, and the pasta is piled on top.
If you’re not a whipped ricotta fan, you can add heavy cream and lemon juice to the orzo right before serving.
How to make this one-pot sausage and orzo recipe:
Step 1: Brown the sausage. This part is important as you’ll render out the fat and develop a nice fond on the bottom of the pot, which will start the process of layering tons of flavor into the pasta! Cook it until it’s begun to caramelize around the edges, and remove it from the pot.
Step 2: Cook the aromatics. Sauté the celery and parsnips in the rendered sausage fat. Continue going until the parsnips begin to char around the edges. This will take around 10 minutes. Stir them occasionally, but don’t disturb them too much. After they finish sautéing, season the with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper to taste. Stir in the minced celery leaves.
Step 3: Simmer the orzo. Return the sausage to the pot along with the orzo. Simmer the orzo in water or stock for about 15 minutes or until the orzo is al dente. Stir it occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
That’s it for the sausage parsnip recipe with orzo! While it simmers, make the whipped ricotta for serving.
How to make whipped ricotta:
As I mentioned above, the orzo is piled on to creamy, lush, whipped ricotta. If you’ve never made it, it’s super easy, and it’s one of my favorite things!
What is whipped ricotta? As the name implies, ricotta has been whipped into a light, creamy, smooth consistency. You can achieve this with a whisk or by using a hand mixer. Be sure to refrigerate it after you whip it so that it keeps a bit of its structure.
Here’s what you need:
- Ricotta: be sure to use full-fat ricotta, as it will give you a creamier texture. If your ricotta is watery, pop it into a fine-mesh sieve first to strain off the excess water. You can line it with paper towels first to be extra safe.
- Lemon juice: Use a small lemon and ensure you zest it first! The zest will be used as the garnish.
- Minced parsley: Finely mince the parsley. You can also use a few basil leaves if you prefer!
To make it, gather all your ingredients in a bowl and whisk, whisk, whisk until completely smooth and creamy. When I make it, I use a hand mixer and blend for about 2 minutes for the creamiest texture. Taste and season with a big pinch of salt before refrigerating the whipped ricotta.
While you wait for the orzo to cook, prepare all your garnishes! I combine a bit of freshly minced parsley with lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Grate up some parmesan cheese on a microplane and set it aside.
To serve, spoon the ricotta into shallow bowls and use the back of your spoon to smooth it out into a circular shape; it’s even better if you create some dips in the ricotta for the orzo to fall into.
One-Pot Sausage and Orzo
- Large pot
- Whisk or hand mixer
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, loose
- 4 ribs celery with leaves, trimmed and sliced; leaves minced and kept separate
- 3 parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and sliced into half-moons
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 cup orzo
- 3 cups water or chicken stock
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons freshly minced parsley, divided
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested; zest kept separate from the juice
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
- Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
- Salt and pepper to taste
Brown the sausage:
- Turn the heat on a large pot to medium-high. Crumble the sausage into the pot. Cook, turning the sausage occasionally, for 10–15 minutes until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.
Cook the celery and parsnips:
- Add the sliced celery ribs and parsnips to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat without moving for 5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the parsnips begin to char and soften, about 10 minutes total. Turn the parsnips occasionally as they cook, but don’t disturb them too much.
- Season the parsnips and celery with garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and add the minced celery leaves.
- Return the sausage to the pot and add the orzo. Toss to combine and season once more with salt and pepper.
Simmer the orzo:
- Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the orzo is al dente. Stir the orzo occasionally to ensure that it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Taste and season.
Prepare the whipped ricotta:
- Place the ricotta cheese in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons minced parsley and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Taste and season with salt. Transfer to the refrigerator until needed.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon minced parsley with the lemon zest. Add a pinch of flaky sea salt and mix to combine. Set aside.
- Spoon the whipped ricotta onto plates. Pile the sausage and orzo on top. Sprinkle the parsley and lemon zest mixture on top, Finish each plate with a sprinkle of parm and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!