How to Make Perfect Risotto Every Time

By: EatingWell Editors

Asparagus & Mushroom Risotto

Pictured recipe: Asparagus & Mushroom Risotto

4 steps to easy, ultra-creamy risotto.

Risotto done right is absolutely sublime: rich and luxurious with just a touch of toothsomeness. And despite its reputation for being fussy or time-intensive, it’s actually quite simple to make. While you do need to attend to the pot while you’re making risotto, that step only takes about half an hour. And the results are more than worth it! All you need are a few choice ingredients and a bit of time at the stove and you’ll have a pot of creamy risotto that an Italian nonna would be proud of.

The key to good risotto is using short-grain risotto rice. Arborio is the most commonly available variety in American supermarkets, but if you can find carnaroli, vialone or another Italian “risotto” rice, you can use those as well. These rices are high in amylopectin, a starch that readily breaks down when cooked, giving risotto its characteristically creamy texture (without any added cream). While EatingWell typically advocates for whole grains over refined grains, the outer layer of bran on brown rice (and other whole grains) prevents the amylopectin from being released during cooking, so whole-grain rice can’t give you the same result. You’ll also want to make sure to use a broth or stock that you like, since the dish will be infused with its essence (use homemade if you can), and a good-quality Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, to get the best flavor bang for your buck.

Step 1: Bring broth to a boil

Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.

Step 2: Saute rice and seasonings

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add shallots (or onion) and cook, stirring about 30 seconds. Add rice and salt and stir to coat.

Step 3: Stir in hot broth

Stir 1/2 cup of the hot broth and a generous splash of wine into the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to cook on medium-low, adding broth in 1/2-cup increments followed by a splash of wine, and stirring frequently after each addition, until most of the liquid is absorbed. We add a splash of wine along with each addition of broth to give the dish a more pronounced wine flavor. If you'd prefer the wine to be more subtle, add the entire cup at the end of Step 2 and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, then begin adding the broth. If you prefer to omit wine, use more broth in its place. The risotto is done when you've used all of the broth and wine and the rice is creamy and just tender, 25 to 35 minutes total.

Step 4: Stir in cheese

Remove from the heat; stir in 3/4 cup cheese and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Watch: How to Make Basic Risotto

Leek & Pancetta Risotto

Sizzled pancetta gives this creamy leek risotto great flavor and a bit of added crispy texture. We add a splash of wine along with each addition of broth to give the dish a more pronounced wine flavor. If you’d prefer the wine to be more subtle, add the entire cup at the end of Step 3 and cook, stirring, until the liquid is gone, then begin adding the broth. You can substitute more broth in place of the wine.

Shrimp & Pea Risotto

This Spanish-inspired main-dish risotto is studded with plenty of shrimp and peas. If you happen to have fresh shelled peas on hand, feel free to use them in place of the frozen peas.

Green Risotto

Serve this pretty, pesto-flavored risotto alongside roasted chicken or pork roast or serve with a big salad for a light dinner. We add a splash of wine along with each addition of broth to give the dish a more pronounced wine flavor. If you’d prefer the wine to be more subtle, add the entire cup at the end of Step 3 and cook, stirring, until the liquid is gone, then begin adding the broth. You can substitute more broth in place of the wine.

How to Turn Leftovers into Risotto Cakes

Risotto Cakes

Turn leftover risotto into crispy risotto cakes with this easy recipe. Serve with marinara sauce and a big salad for a fast dinner or with poached eggs on top for brunch.

 

Related: Our Best Healthy Risotto Recipes