Basic Risotto

risotto and roasted broccoli
risotto and roasted broccoli

For years, I had wanted to make risotto, but I kept shying away from it because it seemed so daunting and an overly difficult dish to make for dinner.  Especially given how contestants on Gordan Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen fare with it, I was really in no hurry to give making risotto a whirl! But eventually, I thought, “Hey- you seriously need to give this a try.  Just see how it turns out.” And I am so glad that I did! We eat risotto pretty often now, especially since you can add so much to it to get lots of variations of the dish. Here I will start with my very basic risotto recipe.  Soon, I’ll be adding my red wine and spinach risotto and my garlic and corn risotto– two of my favorite versions.

Note, risotto is great as either an entree or a side dish.  Usually, I make it as an entree with one or two veggies to accompany the meal.  But any risotto recipe could easy qualify as a lovely starchy side to a nice cut of beef or chicken. 
To begin, you will need:
  • 6 c. vegetable broth (I have been known to also use chicken broth or even stock, whatever I am trying to use up that week.)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 T. fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 c. Arborio (or any medium grain white) rice
  • 1 c. dry white wine (If you don’t want to use wine, just use 1 c. more of the vegetable broth.)
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 t. pepper

Begin by heating your 6 c. of broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  In a separate large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil together over medium-high heat.  (Sidenote:  I L.O.V.E my new Lodge dutch oven for risottos!)  Once the butter is melted, add the onion and parsley.  Cook until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. 

Add the rice and stir.  Continue cooking the rice until the edges look translucent and then add the wine (or broth).  Cook until the wine has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.   Reduce the heat to medium and pour 1/2 c. of the hot broth from the first saucepan over the rice mixture.  Stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed.  Continue to add the broth a half cup at a time, stirring continuously.  Make sure you let the liquid absorb between broth additions, otherwise you’ll risotto won’t cook properly and you’ll get a soupy, rather than creamy, mess.  The adding of the broth should take about 20 – 25 minutes.  Remember to keep stirring!  While risotto isn’t that hard to make, it is more time (labor) intensive since you can’t just throw it together and leave it alone.  Maintenance is required! 

Once you have added the last bit of broth, stir until creamy and then remove from heat.  Add in the cheese and pepper.  Stir and top with any additional cheese and/or parsley to plate.  Then enjoy, and relish in the fact that you would make even Chef Ramsay proud!


*recipe based on “classic risotto” from Betty Crocker’s Easy Everyday Vegetarian