Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish that’s always a hit at the dinner table. While risotto takes some time and attention, it’s a simple dish that only requires only a few ingredients. The result is a creamy, velvety dish infused with rich flavours. The key is stirring consistently without overcooking or scorching the rice. It’s not difficult, but there are tips and tricks you can use to perfect your risotto recipes to a tee!
What is Risotto?
Risotto is a creamy, Italian rice dish made with short-grained rice called Aborio, cooked with broth until it reaches a velvety consistency. The classic risotto recipe consists of butter, onion, white wine and parmesan cheese and you can add an array of ingredients from mushrooms to bacon to seafood to vegetables like peas and butternut squash. The name “risotto” comes from the cooking technique you use to make the dish. You continually stir the rice, gradually adding warm stock, and over time the liquid absorbs. The starches in the rice thicken and you’re left with a rich, creamy dish that is known to please.
3 Risotto Making Essentials
1. Wide, Heavy Bottomed Pan
The pan you use to make risotto should be wide and heavy bottomed. A broad surface will disperse the heat more evenly to allow the liquid to reduce uniformly. A heavy bottom will help prevent scorching since the risotto cooks on the stovetop for so long.
The key to a good risotto is consistently adding stock over time, adding more in once the liquid is fully absorbed. A ladle is the perfect tool to use to add more stock. Add a ladle of stock, stir and when the rice appears almost dry, add another, and repeat the process until finished.
3. Dry White Wine
Risotto tastes best with a dry white wine, such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio. Stay away from wine that’s too sweet as risotto is already a rich dish. The natural acidity from tartaric and malic acid in the grapes enhances the flavours of the other ingredients, both sweet and savoury.
How to Make Risotto: 4 Tips for Beginners
1. Warm the Stock
Before you add the stock or broth to the rice, it should be heated. Warm stock allows for quicker absorption and lowers cooking time to about 30 minutes. Keep stock at a simmer in a small pan so everything stays hot and cooks evenly. The heated stock allows the rice to continue to tenderize and the starches to swell.
2. Don’t Overcook the Rice
The rice should be cooked al dente – just cooked with a little bit of bite to it. Risotto should have body, be it shouldn’t be mushy or starchy. When you add broth or wine, make sure to stir and wait until it’s fully absorbed and the rice is nearly dry before adding more.
3. Cook Vegetables Separately
Cook your vegetables separately before adding them to your risotto. The rice should be finished cooking as adding them in before will result in mushy vegetables. This is especially important for tender greens like spinach and vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus and legumes. Chives and lemon zest should always be added on top at the very end.
4. Save Cheese for Last
Cheese such as parmesan should be added at the very end of the cooking process. Fat breaks under heat and will end up making the entire dish unpleasant. Once the risotto is cooked, take the pot off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Add grated parmesan to give risotto it’s creamy texture and delicious taste!
12 Easy Risotto Recipes
1. Creamy Garlic Parmesan Risotto | Kylee Cooks
2. Basic Risotto | Ricardo
3. Easy Creamy Mushroom Risotto | Delish
4. Tomato and Parmesan Risotto | Epicurious
5. Low Maintenance Risotto | Real Simple
6. Creamy Parmesan Risotto with Saffron | Healthy World Cuisine
7. Lemon and Herb Baked Risotto | Recipe Tin Eats
8. White Wine and Parmesan Risotto | This Celebrated Life
9. Spring Risotto | Epicurious
10. Easy Parmesan Risotto | Barefoot Contessa
11. Creamy Risotto | Modern Honey
12. Beet Risotto | Epicurious
12 Healthy Risotto Recipes
1. Garden Risotto | Food Network
2. Healthy Lemon Basil Risotto | The Clean Eating Couple
3. Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Oregano | Cookie and Kate
4. Vegetable Risotto | Taste
5. Green Risotto | Eating Well
6. Healthy Parmesan Chicken Risotto | Bistro MD
7. Spinach Risotto | Pamela Salzman
8. Healthy Instant Pot Chicken Risotto | Enjoy Clean Eating
9. Butternut Squash Mushroom Risotto | Healthy Fitness Meals
10. Cauliflower Risotto | iFoodreal
11. Healthy Spring Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto | The Healthy Toast
12. Healthy Tomato and Basil Risotto | Neil’s Healthy Meals
12 Mushroom Risotto Recipes
1. Creamy Mushroom Risotto | Spend With Pennies
2. Mushroom and Chicken Risotto | Food and Wine
3. Oven Risotto with Crispy Roasted Mushrooms | Epicurious
4. Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto | Damn Delicious
5. Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto | My Recipes
6. Gourmet Mushroom Risotto | All Recipes
7. Wild Mushroom Risotto | The Modern Proper
8. Caramelized Shiitake Mushroom Risotto | Minimalist Baker
9. Risotto with Mushroom and Thyme | Bon Appetit
10. Mushroom and Spinach Risotto | Taste of Home
11. Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto | Tasty
12. Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto | Life’s Ambrosia
12 Seafood Risotto Recipes
1. Creamy Shrimp Risotto with Mascarpone | Epicurious
2. Shrimp and Spinach Risotto | Taste of Home
3. Creamy Seafood Risotto | Food and Wine
4. Lemon Seafood Risotto | All Recipes
5. Pumpkin and Seafood Risotto | Ricardo
6. Shrimp Scampi Risotto | Punchfork
7. Creamy Prawn Risotto | RecipeTin Eats
8. Lemon Risotto with Calamari | Taste
9. Black Squid Ink Risotto with Grilled Prawns and Lobster | Food Network
10. Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto | Pinch of Yum
11. Authentic Seafood Risotto | Our Sweet Adventures
12. Pork and Seafood Risotto with Turmeric | Romona’s Cuisine
12 Vegan Risotto Recipes
1. Creamy Vegetable Vegan Risotto | Minimalist Baker
2. Vegan Mushroom Risotto | Two Spoons
3. Vegan Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas | Nutriciously
4. Mushroom and Leek Risotto | Minimalist Baker
5. Vegan Risotto with Asparagus and Peas | My Darling Vegan
6. Vegan Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash | Nora Cooks
7. Vegan Cheesy Risotto | The Spruce Eats
8. Creamy Vegan Tomato Risotto | Bianca Zapatka
9. Vegan Caramelized Onion Risotto | School Night Vegan
10. Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto | Food52
11. Vegan Carrot Risotto | Strength and Sunshine
12. Mushroom Asparagus Lentil Risotto | Veggiekins
Risotto is one of the tastiest dishes you can make when you’re feeling something rich and creamy. Use our tips and recipes to become a risotto master in your own right!