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Parmesan Risotto


You only need a few essentials for this basic version of risotto.

  • Servings: 4
basic parmesan risotto

Photography: Maria Robledo

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2000


  • 6 to 8 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, (about 2)
  • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for grating or shaving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat stock in saucepan over medium heat; keep at a low simmer. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots to oil, and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add rice, and cook, stirring, until rice begins to make a clicking sound like glass beads, 3 to 4 minutes.

  2. Add wine to rice mixture. Cook, stirring, until wine is absorbed by rice.

  3. Using a ladle, add 3/4 cup hot stock to rice. Using a wooden spoon, stir rice constantly, at a moderate speed. Note: Stirring the rice too vigorously will make your risotto slightly gluey; stirring too little will make it watery. Rice should be only thinly veiled in liquid during the stirring process.

  4. When rice mixture is just thick enough to leave a clear wake behind the spoon, add another 3/4 cup stock.

  5. Continue adding stock 3/4 cup at a time and stirring constantly until rice is mostly translucent but still opaque in the center. Rice should be al dente but not crunchy. As rice nears doneness, watch carefully and add smaller amounts of liquid to make sure it does not overcook. The final mixture should be thick enough that grains of rice are suspended in liquid the consistency of heavy cream. It will thicken slightly when removed from heat.

  6. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, Parmesan cheese, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture among four shallow bowls, mounding risotto in the center, and grate or shave additional Parmesan over risotto. Serve immediately.

Reviews Add a comment

  • kvnsgrl
    29 NOV, 2013
    Very tasty and adaptable.
  • MS10593083
    8 APR, 2012
    We enjoyed this risotto very much. The methodology was authentic, but I was a little puzzled by the wide range of quantities...there is a big difference between 6 and 8 cups, and 4 to 6 Tbs. I chose the lesser amounts of both. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly except I used a yellow onion instead of shallot, and added 2 cloves of garlic. Since I used salted butter, regular broth, and was generous with the parmesan, I did not add salt on the finish. Rich, creamy goodness :)