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How to Make Basic Risotto

This northern Italian staple of rice, garlic, onions and cheese provides a hearty base for a variety of dishes. By including seafood, fresh herbs or garden vegetables, you can make one simple dish morph into hundreds of others.

Classic risotto dishes are cooked with short-grained Arborio rice. In a pinch, any short grained rice such as Baldo or Carnaroli will work. In a pinch, sushi rice will also do. Short grained rice varieties tend to be more glutenous, which provides risotto’s signature stickiness.

Ingredients Overview

Ingredients for cooking risotto labeled on a wooden table, including arborio rice, butter, chicken broth, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, onion, salt, pepper, and sauvignon blanc.

Step-by-step instructions for risotto

In a small stock pot, warm your soup stock. In a separate large skillet or five quart dutch oven at medium heat, warm the olive oil and two tablespoons of butter until it shimmers.

making risotto adding olive oil to butter in pan
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Add the onions and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently until translucent.

making risotto adding onions
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Add the garlic and salt. Cook for about a minute.

making risotto adding garlic
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.
making risotto adding salt
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Add the rice. Stir continuously until it browns just a bit. This should take about three minutes.

making risotto adding rice to pan
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

While continuing to stir, add about half of the wine. Once it is absorbed in the rice (about two minutes) add the other half. Continue to stir. In about two minutes the rest of the wine should be absorbed.

making risotto adding wine first time
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Once the wine is absorbed, add about three cups of soup stock. Let the rice simmer in the stock until it is absorbed (about five minutes).

making risotto adding chicken stock
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Once the soup is just about absorbed, check the rice. If it is still too al dente (it likely will be) add the rest of the soup. Once this is absorbed, if the pasta is still al dente add water (or more soup stock if you have it) ¼ cup at a time until it reaches the desired texture.

making risotto adding water
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Once the rice is at the desired texture, remove from heat, add the remaining butter, pepper and cheese.

final steps for making risotto
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Pro Tip

Risotto is time consuming to make, so I always make it in large batches. The recipe here is for two cups of uncooked rice. If you have a large skillet, you can easily double it. In a full-sized wok, go for a triple batch.

A bowl of creamy risotto on a white cloth with parsley, a fork in it, set on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Storing Risotto

To store risotto, simply let it cool, divide it up and freeze in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. I store mine in one-to-two cup portions. You can thaw it in the microwave or on the counter.

Once thawed, add your favorite accompaniment. I love shrimp scampi or parsley gremolata. You can heat it up in the microwave, but I prefer to pop it in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and whatever else I’m having with it.

Risotto Recipes You Will Love

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A person's hand holding a spoonful of creamy risotto over a red-rimmed white bowl on a wooden table with scattered herbs.

Risotto

This northern Italian staple of rice, garlic, onions and cheese provides a hearty base for a variety of dishes. By adding including seafood, fresh herbs or garden vegetables, you can make one simple dish morph into hundreds of others.
Classic risotto dishes are cooked with short-grained Arborio rice. In a pinch, any short grained rice such as Baldo or Carnaroli will work. In a pinch, sushi rice will also do. Short grained rice varieties tend to be more glutenous, which provides risotto's signature stickiness.
Risotto is time consuming to make, so I always make it in large batches. The recipe here is for two cups of uncooked rice. If you have a large skillet, you can easily double it. In a full-sized wok, go for triple.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 729 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 cups short-grained rice Such as Arborio
  • 4 tablespoon butter Evenly divided into two pieces (unsalted preferred).
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cups onion Chopped, about 1 medium sized onion.
  • 3 teaspoons garlic About three cloves crushed or chopped.
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt A little less if using salted butter.
  • 4 cups soup stock Chicken is traditionally used, but use vegetable to make the recipe vegetarian.
  • 1 cup sauvignon blanc I use whatever white wine is handy.
  • 1 cup water Optional if the rice is too al dente.
  • ¾ cup Parmesan Grated, Pecorino Romano or similar cheese works well too.
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper To taste.

Instructions
 

  • In a small stock pot, warm your soup stock.
    4 cups soup stock
  • In a separate large skillet or five quart dutch oven at medium heat, warm the olive oil and two tablespoons of butter until it shimmers.
    4 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Add the onions and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently until translucent.
    1½ cups onion
  • Add the garlic and salt. Cook for about a minute.
    3 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Add the rice. Stir continuously until it browns just a bit. This should take about three minutes.
    2 cups short-grained rice
  • While continuing to stir, add about half of the wine. Once it is absorbed in the rice (about two minutes) add the other half. Continue to stir. In about two minutes the rest of the wine should be absorbed.
    1 cup sauvignon blanc
  • Once the wine is absorbed, add about three cups of soup stock. Let the rice simmer in the stock until it is absorbed (about five minutes). Stir frequently
    4 cups soup stock
  • Once the soup is just about absorbed, check the rice. If it is still too al dente (it likely will be) add the rest of the soup. Once this is absorbed, if the pasta is still al dente add water (or more soup stock if you have it) ¼ cup at a time until it reaches the desired texture.
    1 cup water
  • Once the rice is at the desired texture, remove from heat, add the remaining butter, pepper and cheese and mix thoroughly.
    4 tablespoon butter, ¾ cup Parmesan, 1/4 tsp black pepper

Notes

To store risotto, simply let it cool, divide it up and freeze in an airtight container of Ziploc bag. I store mine in one-to-two cup portions. You can thaw it in the microwave or on the counter.
Once thawed, add your favorite accompaniment. I love shrimp scampi or parsley gremolata.
You can heat up risotto in the microwave if you’re pressed for time. However, I prefer to pop it in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and whatever else I’m having with it, and reheat it that way. It’s like making a brand new dish, even though I’m using leftover risotto.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cupCalories: 729kcalCarbohydrates: 93gProtein: 21gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1034mgPotassium: 639mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 506IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 286mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer

Please note that nutrient values, if included with the recipe, are estimates only. Variations can occur due to product availability/substitution and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of origin, preparation, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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