Monday, September 7, 2009

basic risotto recipe

Risotto is a creamy and flavorful mixture of rice and other ingredients, prepared the traditional Italian way. There are many variations but this here is a basic recipe I found and tested. It's rather simple, but needs patience - you'll see why as you read on. ;)


  • 4-6 cups of rice. Arborio is best.
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 large (or 3 medium sized) onions; chopped
  • butter or oil for frying
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • black pepper
  • various herbs and veggies (see suggestions below); chopped
  • meat of your choice (see below); cooked and cut into strips or bite-sized pieces


In a large skillet (or wok), lightly brown the chopped onions in butter or oil.

Lower the heat and add the rice.

Mixing lightly, add broth a little at a time - like, around a third of a cup at a time. Don't dump it all in. Let the broth absorb into the rice, and add some more as it gets dry. Just keep the rice wet, but you don't want in swimming in soup; this isn't arroz caldo. :p

Be careful not to pound the rice into a pulp as you mix. :)  Use a wooden spoon.

And keep the heat low. If the rice is sticking to the pan, it's too hot.

When you're out of broth, it's time for the wine - mix it in a little at a time.

* If you don't like wine, just use more broth.
* Some recipes call for red wine - that'll result in purple / pink rice of course. It's kinda weird, i.m.h.o. but I suppose it's just as good :p
* Cheap cheat: They say that light beer is a cheaper substitute for white wine. It produces almost similar results, with a stronger, less fine flavor.

After the rice has absorbed the wine / broth, it's time to add your other ingredients:

Suggested greens:
- tomato, chopped
- broccoli
- asparagus
- basil, fresh
- spinach
- peas
- leeks, finely chopped
- wild rice
- mushrooms

I've seen a risotto station with corn and carrots, but I don't like corn and carrots together in risotto.  That would work better for yang chow fried rice though.

Just before you turn off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese.  Some people like adding more butter or cream to make it creamier.

Now, plate in single servings.  Drizzle olive oil or more Parmesan cheese if you like.  Top with additional greens, like asparagus spears or fresh basil leaves.

Makes 4-6 servings.