How To Make Risotto

  • 01 of 09

    Saute Onion in Hot Butter and Oil

    Risotto with parmesan cheese
    Adventure_Photo / Getty Images

    Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish made from a short-grained, starchy variety of rice called arborio rice. The technique for making it is called the risotto method, which involves stirring small amounts of hot stock or broth into the rice a little at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed. While it cooks, the rice releases its starch, giving the risotto a rich, creamy consistency.

    Like pasta, risotto is cooked al dente, which means that it should be slightly firm to the bite — a...MORE degree of doneness that might seem underdone in ordinary white rice. It shouldn't be crunchy, though.

    For each cup of uncooked rice, you'll need about 4 cups of hot chicken stock. Keep the stock hot in a small saucepan at a low simmer over a separate burner from the one you'll be using to cook the risotto. You'll also need a small (e.g. 6 oz.) ladle for adding the hot stock.

    Tip: Use a wooden spoon for stirring the risotto — it's less likely to break the grains of rice than a metal spoon.

    To begin, heat 1 tbsp. of unsalted butter and 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan or straight-sided sauté pan, then add about half a cup of finely chopped onion. Cook until the onion is somewhat translucent.

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  • 02 of 09

    Add Uncooked Arborio Rice

    How To Make Risotto
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Add about 1 cup of uncooked arborio rice and stir briskly, coating the rice grains with the hot butter and oil.

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  • 03 of 09

    Briefly Sauté the Rice

    How To Make Risotto
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Sauté the rice for a minute or two, until there's a slightly nutty aroma. The rice shouldn't look brown or toasted, though.

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  • 04 of 09

    Add Wine and Cook Until It's Absorbed

    How To Make Risotto
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Add about 1/2 cup of dry white wine to the rice and stir until it is fully absorbed. The wine livens up the flavors of the risotto. Any dry white table wine will do. If you have some vermouth handy, that would be a good choice.

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  • 05 of 09

    Add a Ladle of Hot Stock

    How To Make Risotto
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.

    Note: It's important to stir constantly, especially as the liquid gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.

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  • 06 of 09

    Continue Adding Hot Stock and Stirring

    How To Make Risotto
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you'll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.

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  • 07 of 09

    Cook for 20 to 30 Minutes

    How To Make Risotto
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Total cooking time will be 20 to 30 minutes. The risotto is done when it's al dente, meaning that the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy.

    Remember, a cup of uncooked arborio rice should absorb 3-4 cups of stock, but if for some reason you've added 4 cups of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water instead of stock. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.

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  • 08 of 09

    Finish with Butter and Parmesan Cheese

    How To Make Risotto
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Stir in another 2 tbsp. unsalted butter and about ¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese. You can also stir in some freshly chopped Italian parsley. Adjust the seasoning with Kosher salt.

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  • 09 of 09

    Serve Risotto Right Away

    How To Make Risotto
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Risotto turns sticky and gluey if held for too long, so it should be served immediately. A properly cooked risotto should form a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate.

    There are some great risotto recipes in the links below. Also, this risotto cakes recipe is a fantastic way to use leftover risotto. Here are some more risotto recipes: