Simple Risotto

Arborio rice, high-quality Parmesan, and wine are the keys to this creamy, cheesy, and warm northern Italian dish.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Source: Everyday Food, April 2008


Simple Risotto

  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Risotto Four Ways

  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 pound quartered white mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups bottled clam juice
  • 1/2 pound bay scallops
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp


Simple Risotto

  1. In a small saucepan, combine broth with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and keep at a bare simmer.

  2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Add 2 cups hot broth; simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until mostly absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, 20 to 25 minutes total (you may not need all the broth).

  4. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan and remaining 2 tablespoons butter; season with salt and pepper.

Risotto Four Ways

  1. MILANESE: In step 1, add saffron to broth mixture. In step 3, after adding last cup of broth to risotto, stir in peas.

  2. TOMATO: In step 1, replace broth mixture with tomato juice and 2 cups water.

  3. MUSHROOM: At the beginning of step 3, in a separate skillet, cook mushrooms with butter over medium-high until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Proceed with step 3, and after adding last cup of broth to risotto, stir in cooked mushrooms.

  4. SEAFOOD: In step 1, replace broth with clam juice and 2 cups water. At the end of step 3, a few minutes before risotto is done, stir in scallops and shrimp. In step 4, omit the Parmesan.

Cook's Notes

Contrary to popular belief, an occasional stir with a flat-end wooden spoon, rather than constant stirring, yields perfect results. Serve risotto as a main or side dish, and try the variations we've provided.


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