Grilled Sausage Risotto and Partying at Michael Chiarello’s House

November 8, 2013 | By | Comments (7)
Michael Chiarello checks the risotto

Michael Chiarello checks the risotto

I was hanging out in Michael Chiarello‘s kitchen last weekend waiting for the risotto to finish cooking when I heard there were sausages grilling out back.

Hold that thought, because this is a grilling blog, after all, and we’ll get back to it.

My job takes me to some amazing events, and this one rocked—literally. For Live in the Vineyard, a Napa Valley event that pairs up top recording artists, wine, and chefs, Sutter Home winery, one of the sponsors, invited me to schmooze with 300 fancy people at Chiarello’s party. Christina Perri gave an intimate concert by the pool. And yeah, the food was amazing.

For an Italian-Spanish play on his two restaurants, Bottega and Coqueta, Chiarello decided to make risotto, paella-style. Or was it paella, risotto-style? He slow-cooked a sofrito, then added Spanish paprika, Arborio rice, and broth made with a prosciutto bone.

The risotto

The risotto

Pesto and peppers

Arugula pesto and a special Italian pepper like pepperoncini went on top of each serving.

The risotto-paella idea was clever, but it was the details—especially the smoky flavor and crisp edges of the grilled chunks of sausage that were in the dish—that had me thinking Top Chef.

Out back, more sausages were grilling slowly over an oak and apple wood fire.

Sausages cooking over a wood fire at Michael Chiarello's

One of the cooks, George Velazquez, explained that before putting the sausages on the grill, they gently pre-cook them in water to keep the skins from bursting when they get near the flame. “If you just put them in the risotto, you don’t get the color,” he added. “Grilling is important for the eye as well as for flavor.”

I couldn’t have said it better. With seconds in hand, it was on to the party.

Michael Chiarello's pool

The crowd spilled around the pool and garden in Chiarello’s place.

The vineyard at Michael Chiarello's house

The leaves were starting to change color in the vineyard behind the house.

Christina Perri at Live in the Vineyard

Christina Perri debuted Put Your Arms Around Me, I’m Home.

Star spotting: Cy Young winner Alex Rodriguez was among the guests.

Star spotting: Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez was among the guests.


  1. Tiffany @ Triple Crème Decadence

    What a delicious event! The Paella risotto and grilled sausage sounds so good right now. 🙂

    November 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm
  2. Suzzy

    What a story! Narrated stylishly, true thoughts …”Can you have some spare time to sit back in your chair having your laptop with you and making some money online for some intersting online work “said Jenny Francis in the party last night ….see more what is for you there to increase your pocket money … .. http://www.bay91.☪om.

    November 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm
  3. Suzzy

    You have amzing recipes here , I want to check them out

    November 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm
  4. Kevin M

    That’s not Alex Rodriguez in the last picture. It’s Felix Hernandez, pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm
    • Victoria

      Yep! That’s Felix Hernandez. 👍

      November 14, 2013 at 5:44 am
  5. bubblegum casting

    Looks like a good time

    November 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm
  6. Berdj Rassam

    Wow – looks like a feast!

    November 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s