6 Steps to Sublime Risotto

Cook, Ingredient Spotlight, Learn, Primers, Sicily

Risotto is a perfect example of the Italian talent of turning the simplest ingredients into a deliciously flavorful dish. There, risotto is served as a first course, or “Primi,” to complement a main course. It can easily be punched up with vegetables, cheese, poultry or seafood — scroll down for three fresh variations.


Basic Risotto


6 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice

1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, at room temperature

1 to 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated, to taste (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the stock
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to very low and keep the stock warm on a nearby burner.
Saute the rice
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes.
Incorporate a ladleful of stock
Add the wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed. Add a small ladleful of the simmering stock and cook, stirring frequently, until the stock is almost completely absorbed.
Add the stock in increments
Continue to add the stock in small amounts, cooking and stirring the rice until the stock is nearly all absorbed. This will take about 20 minutes. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the chicken stock.
Check the consistency
After about 20 minutes of cooking, taste a small amount of risotto. When done, the rice grains will be almost tender to the bite but slightly firm at the center, and the risotto will look creamy. If it’s not quite done, continue to cook, adding more stock as needed.
Stir in the flavorings
Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the butter, Parmesan cheese (if using), and salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away. Serves 6.




Asparagus Risotto

Blanch 12 ounces asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths until barely tender and set aside. Follow the recipe to make Basic Risotto. In step 6, add the blanched asparagus with the butter and proceed with the recipe.


Mushroom Risotto

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Add 12 ounces mixed cleaned sliced mushrooms and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme and set aside. Follow the recipe to make Basic Risotto. In step 6, add the mushroom mixture with the butter and proceed with the recipe.


Four-Cheese Risotto

Follow the recipe to make Basic Risotto. In step 6, omit the butter and stir in 1/2 cup room-temperature mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 1/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese and proceed with the recipe.


Try more of our warm, hearty risotto recipes below:


Saffron Risotto Risotto with
Mushrooms, Peas
& Sausage
Lemon Risotto Risotto with
Chicken and
Caramelized Onions


11 comments about “6 Steps to Sublime Risotto

  1. Michelle Barger

    I love the article. Very inspirational. This is definitely the next thing that I will attempt in my kitchen and the photos are just gorgeous. I do however believe that a super quick edit should be made to the section titled “Heat the stock”. Halfway into that section is a tiny typo. The word heat is accidently spelled ehat.

  2. Kerrey

    I love risotto. One question, what do you do with the 1/4 cup reserved stock?

  3. Olivia Ware Post author

    Kerrey, the reserved stock is there because you may not even need it. If your risotto is done — tender but slightly firm at the center, and creamy looking — you don’t need to add the final 1/4 cup. If it still needs to cook some more, go ahead and add it.

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  8. Carolyn Bracale Cutler

    I love asparagus the Risotto sounds great.
    ALS love saffron….. Will try both . Thanks

  9. Jody blazer

    I didn’t see where it had an option to “pin it” to Pinterest. will that be an option in the future? Thanks. It is a lovely recipe .


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