Basic Risotto Recipe

2 tablespoons fat (e.g., olive oil, butter, bacon fat, combination of these)
23 cups onion-type ingredient (e.g., onion of any color, shallot, leeks)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 cup Arborio rice
12 cup white wine
4-5 cups savory liquid (Broths are best, since they add flavor.  Chicken broth is most common.  Water is acceptable for a small amount if necessary.)  
12 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated, or other cheeses
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
~2 cups “other stuff” such as vegetables, bacon, or cheese.  See instructions below for specific suggestions. 

1. Heat fat in large saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium heat.  Add onion-type ingredient and sauté until soft, stirring.

1.5 Add appropriate “other stuff.”  This is when you should add things that need to be sautéed, but can also stand up to being cooked with the risotto for the entire cooking time.  Mushrooms and meats such as bacon work well for this step.  You should fully cook the ingredient before progressing to the next step.

2. Add garlic, if using, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  

3. Add rice and cook, stirring, until rice is opaque and well coated with fat.  

4. Add wine and cook, stirring, until all wine has evaporated or is absorbed.  

5. Working with 12 cup at a time, add savory liquid.  After each addition, stir often and continue stirring often until each addition is completely absorbed into rice.  This should take around 20 minutes and, at the end, the rice should be tender.

5.5 Add appropriate “other stuff” during step 5.  This is when you should add things that do well with being cooked in a wet environment for less than 20 minutes.  For example, the risotto in the picture shown here included asparagus.  The asparagus was cut into small pieces and added when the rice had about 3 to 4 minutes left to go.  Other crunchy vegetables work well in this step.  Frozen peas are also good for this step because they don’t take much time to thaw and heat.

6. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until cheese melts.

6.5 Add appropriate “other stuff.”  This is the time to add things that don’t need any cooking.  Meats such as prosciutto, pine nuts, other cheeses, and dried fruits can all be added at this point.  As long as you don’t add a ton of stuff, the heat from the risotto will warm these ingredients up.  If you are adding a ton of stuff, consider step 5.5 instead.  This step is also good for the addition of pre-cooked ingredients such as bacon you’ve already sautéed, vegetables you’ve already steamed, etc.  Spinach, and similar super tender greens, can also be added at this time because the heat from the risotto will be enough to wilt the greens.

7. Taste for seasoning then add salt and pepper to your tastes.  The amount of salt you will need will depend on the other ingredients you’ve added (Parmesan and bacon are salty) and the saltiness of the liquid you’ve used.  Make sure to taste first!


This is my basic method for risotto.  I tend to always have the ingredients listed on hand, so from there it’s just a matter of tossing other ingredients into the pot at the appropriate time.  The amounts listed here are for 1 cup of rice, but it’s simple enough to scale the ingredients if you’re interested in making more.  

I prefer to use my Dutch oven when preparing risotto because it transfers heat the best out of all of the pots I own.  

You’ll notice that I deviate from traditional risotto recipes in two ways with my method.  The first way is that I don’t bother with heating the broth first.  If you are making large batches of risotto, it is useful to heat the broth first but, with the small batches I make for family dinners, it is unnecessary as the broth warms up very quickly once added to the pot.  I most often use chicken broth in 4-cup boxes and I pour in a 12 cup at a time directly from the box.  

The other way I deviate is that I don’t feel it necessary to “STIR CONSTANTLY” which is something that can scare people away from risotto.  Yes, you should stir often, but it’s perfectly fine to do other tasks for food prep while you’re cooking risotto.  Add some broth, stir a bit, chop up an onion before stirring some more.  Set the table, stir some more.  It’s all good and you’ll start to get a feel for how often you need to stir as you gain more experience with risotto-making.  Do be sure to stir often enough that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  

Just remember, that you do not need to be scared of risotto.  Risotto is simple, quick, and endlessly versatile.  It’s a fantastic, cozy, creamy comfort food and works both as a main dish or a side dish, depending on the additions.  

The risotto shown here had asparagus added in step 5.5.

Special thanks to my awesome mother for her proof reading help and formatting suggestions.

Person - Gwen

Risotto with Currants, Pine Nuts, and Feta Cheese

14 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large shallots, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 12 cups arborio rice
12 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth
13 cup dried currants (or raisins)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1. Heat oven to 350*F.  Arrange pine nuts in single layer on baking sheet and bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted.  Remove to bowl. 

2. In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until butter melts.  Add shallots and season with 12 teaspoon salt and 14 teaspoon pepper.  Cook 2 minutes, or until softened.  Add rice and cook, stirring often, until toasted, about 3 minutes.  Add wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until evaporated, about 2 minutes. 

3. Add 12 cup broth and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed.  Continue adding remaining broth, 12 cup at a time, cooking and stirring often until rice is creamy and tender, about 20 minutes. 

4. Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining tablespoon butter, currants, pine nuts, feta cheese, and parsley.  Season with extra salt and pepper if desired. 


This recipe is from Weeknights with Giada and, wow, it’s great!  I enjoyed it so much that I’m actually planning on making it again right away!  This is a pretty rare event in my household.  I did make the mistake of claiming it was vegetarian in the meal plan and, due to the chicken broth, it’s not.  However, you could easily make it vegetarian by using a different liquid. 

This risotto is really great.  Every bite has a flavor burst thanks to the currants, pine nuts, and feta.  I served it as a complete meal the first time I made it and I’ll have it as a side dish for the second time.  I’ll also be making a double batch because this really does just serve four as a meal.  We didn’t have a single bit leftover and I’d love to have more around for lunches next time.

Weeknights with Giada

Garlic Rice Pilaf

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups white rice
10 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Heat oven to 375*F. 

2. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add rice and cook, stirring, until rice begins to brown.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 more seconds.  Stir 2 cups chicken broth, salt and pepper and bring to boil.  Cover and transfer to oven.  Bake 25 minutes.  Stir in remaining chicken broth and water.  Bake, covered, for another 30 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice, recover, and bake 15 more minutes. 

Garlic Rice Pilaf

This recipe is from Melissa Bakes.  It takes forever to cook, but it’s worth the time.  The rice is very flavorful thanks to all of the garlic.  This is a very simple dish.  I’m not sure it would come to mind if I needed a rice dish due to the time it takes, but it’d be nice when your stovetop is all taken up with other pots and pans. 

Shown here with Grilled Barbecued Chicken Kebabs.

Internet - Melissa Bakes

Saffron Risotto with Pancetta, Tomatoes, and Sausage

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
12 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and sausage crumbled (about 2 links)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 12 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
Pinch saffron (optional)
1 cup white wine
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
12 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add pancetta and cook until crisp.  Remove from pan to paper towel lined plate.  Add sausage to pan and cook, stirring, until completely browned and cooked through.  Remove to plate with pancetta, leaving grease in pan. 

2. Add onion to pan and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add rice and stir until rice is coated.  Add tomatoes.  Add saffron, rubbing between fingers to crush while adding.  Stir well. 

3. Add wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed.  Add 12-1 cup of broth and cook, stirring often, until broth is completely absorbed.  Repeat process until all broth has been added and absorbed and rice is tender. 

4. Reduce heat to low and stir in pancetta, sausage, cream, Parmesan, and parsley.  Garnish with additional Parmesan if desired. 

Risotto with Pancetta, Tomatoes, and Sausage

This recipe is from Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate and I’d actually forgotten it had saffron in it until now, when I’m posting it.  The saffron doesn’t shine in this dish at all, so I’ll omit it next time.  Otherwise, this recipe is great.  We all loved the risotto, it was a pretty complete meal with a salad.  Leftovers went pretty quickly and we all enjoyed it quite a bit!

Internet - Mrs. Requeiro’s Plate

Fiesta Chicken and Rice

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
14 cup olive oil
1 cup rice
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
18 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 14 cups chicken broth
1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
1 bunch green onions, sliced

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until browned, about 4 minutes on each side.  Remove to cutting board and cool slightly before cutting into cubes. 

2. Add rice, onion, and 12 teaspoon salt to skillet.  Cook, stirring frequently, until rice is toasted and onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, oregano, chili powder, and cayenne.  Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper, and chicken broth.  Bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in chicken, cover skillet, and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. 

3. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese and green onions.  Cover until cheese is melted and serve. 

Fiesta Chicken and Rice

This recipe is from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.  Sadly, I managed to forget bell pepper but, since I had green beans in the fridge, I used those.  Obviously this gave the dish a different flavor, but I thought it was pretty tasty.  But, I don’t think this dish is a keeper.  I’ve made a number of Tex-Mex type casseroles that are much better, so this one wouldn’t be the one I’d choose to make when I was in the mood for such things.  It’s tasty and fine, but nothing spectacular.

Internet - Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Pea and Lemon Risotto

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 34 cups Arborio rice
14 cup white wine
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup frozen peas
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
13 Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add rice and stir until coated with oil and opaque. 

2. Add wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed.  Add 12-1 cup of broth and cook, stirring often, until broth is completely absorbed.  Repeat process until all broth has been added and absorbed.  Add butter, peas, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Stir until butter has melted and peas are warm.  Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Pea and Lemon Risotto

This recipe is from Baked Bree.  It was very tasty, a nice and simple risotto.  I don’t know what else to say about this recipe because it’s yet another yummy risotto variation. 

Shown here with Baked Salmon with White Wine Dill Sauce.

Internet - Baked Bree

Zucchini Risotto

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion , chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
12 cup white wine
8 cups chicken broth
3-4 small zucchini, diced (around 3-4 cups of diced zucchini)
10 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1-2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Melt butter in large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Stir in onions and cook 2 minutes, or until starting to soften.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.  Add rice and cook, stirring often, until rice is opaque and well coated with oil, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Add wine and stir until absorbed. 

2. Working 12 to 1 cup at a time, add broth to rice mixture.  Stir often until broth is almost completely absorbed before adding more.  Repeat until rice is almost tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.  (This might not use all of the broth, which is okay.  If it ends up needing more broth than you’ve got, use water.) 

3. When rice is almost tender, stir in zucchini, sundried tomatoes and thyme.  Continue cooking, stirring, and adding more broth as necessary until rice is tender.  Stir in Parmesan and basil and season with salt and pepper before serving. 

Zucchini Risotto

This recipe is from [all(recipes.com](http://all(recipes.com/Recipe/zucchini-risotto/Detail.aspx) and it makes quite a bit of risotto.  Feel free to halve all of the ingredients if you’re not feeding an army or don’t want leftovers.  I had plans to use the leftovers to make Arancini, so I wasn’t too worried about the large amount of food this generates. 

The verdict on this risotto was mixed.  Art and I loved it and loved all of the flavors.  Lance felt that all of the added stuff overwhelmed the taste of the rice itself and thought the risotto was better in Arancini form later in the week.  The risotto you see on the plate was also a bit wet, but it firmed up once it cooled and absorbed more of the liquid – I was just impatient to serve it and have dinner!

You will not that I don’t advocate heating the broth ahead of time in this recipe and that’s a shift I’ve made over the last few years as I cook more and more risottos.  When cooking small amounts of risotto like this, it doesn’t seem to be necessary to heat the broth in advance.  I just pour it into the pot direct from the container and the risotto is just as tasty and correct texturally as it is when I heat the broth prior to use.  This is all a matter of personal preference, and I recommend that you cook the way that works best for you. 

Shown here with Baked Parmesan Tilapia.

Internet - all(recipes

Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used yellow, since the yellow ones looked best at the store.)
1 13 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
14 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
14 cup frozen corn kernels
14 cup frozen peas

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, and bell pepper and sauté until softened. 

2. Add rice and cook, stirring, until toasted and golden.  Add garlic powder, salt, cumin, and tomato sauce.  Stir until well combined. 

3. Add chicken broth, increase heat to high, and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until liquid is completely absorbed.  Stir in frozen peas and corn.  Cover for 3 minutes until peas and corn have thawed and are warmed through. 

Mexican Rice

This recipe is from What’s Cooking, Chicago.  I admit that my usual preparation of Mexican rice involves a box from Zataran’s with some added tomatoes and green onions.  This preparation is significantly better than that method!  The rice was great and went really well with the White Chicken Enchiladas I served it with.  This recipe is definitely a keeper and I don’t think I’ll go back to the boxed variety of rice any time soon. 

Shown here with White Chicken Enchiladas.

Internet - What’s Cookin, Chicago?

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Arborio rice
13 cup sherry
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups baby spinach
12 cup asiago cheese, grated
12 teaspoon salt
14 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add bacon to pan and cook 8 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally.  Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon, leaving bacon fat in pot. 

2. Add shallots, oil, thyme and garlic.  Cook 6 minutes, or until shallots are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add mushrooms and continue cooking 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add rice and cook 1 minute, stirring until rice is coated. 

3. Stir in sherry and continue stirring until liquid is almost completely absorbed.  Working 12 to 1 cup at a time, stir in broth.  Stir occasionally, waiting for each addition to almost completely absorb before adding more broth.  This will take about 20 to 25 minutes total. 

4. Stir in spinach and remove from heat.  Stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and reserved bacon. 


This recipe is from the 2011 Cooking Light Annual.  Being a lover of risotto, bacon, spinach and mushrooms, I knew I had to give this recipe a try.  Sadly, we all thought the flavors were a bit off, I blame this on the use of sherry instead of the usual wine, or perhaps the asiago cheese instead of Parmesan. Next time I make this, I’ll probably use white wine and Parmesan cheese instead.  Regardless, this was a tasty risotto and every bit of the leftovers was happily eaten. 

Shown here with Herb Breaded Chicken.

Cooking Light 2011

Seriously Seasoned Rice with Chicken

6 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 large onions, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
4 cups white rice
4 teaspoons oregano
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 teaspoons salt

1. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat and cook chicken until done, 5 to 10 minutes depending on size.  Remove chicken from Dutch oven. 

2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil and add onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno.  Sauté until onion is translucent.  Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.  Sprinkle turmeric, cumin and paprika over vegetables and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.  Add rice and stir well for 2 minutes while rice absorbs flavors. 

3. Add oregano, chicken, chicken broth and pepper.  Season with salt to taste depending on how salty your broth is.  Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 25 minutes.  Turn off heat, stir well, cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Check for seasoning (salt and pepper) before serving. 

Seasoned Rice

This is a recipe from my favorite Dutch girl’s blog, Kayotic Kitchen.  Sadly, I made it when I was sick so my taste buds weren’t functioning super well.  Even sadder still, the guys were torn on the results.  Art thought it was fantastic, wonderful, amazing, and loved all of the leftovers.  Lance, however, thought it was a bit bland.  I’m honestly not sure how this dish could possibly have been bland, but there you have it.  I’d like to make this again when I’m healthy because it certainly seemed like it should be grand!

As Kay suggested, this was eaten out of big bowls, with spoons, wrapped up in blankets on the couch.  The amounts shown here are for a doubled recipe.  Feel free to halve everything if you don’t want to feed an army or have lots of leftovers.

Internet - Kayotic Kitchen