Risotto – a basic recipe
A northern Italian creamy rice porridge with endless possibilities for taste variations
In the Italian kitchen, risotto is served as primo piatto – the first dish in the menu. Alternatively, it is served as a side dish with stews or for example Ossobuco (classic beef stew). The basic risotto is prepared with middle-sized corn rice – most common rice types being Arborio, Vialone and Carnaroli. The secret to the creaminess of a risotto lies in the type of rice being used, since they lose the starch to the broth while being cooked. We mostly eat risotto as a side dish to meat or fish.
Make your own risotto and get creative
Our risotto recipe is the basic recipe for many versions that you can create out of it. When there is season for mushrooms, we use Porcini (Steinpilz, Herkkutatti, Karljohansvamp), as they make a perfect flavour match for the rice and blend in very tasty and rich. Of course, you can add most edible mushrooms or vegetables to your risotto. There is even a version with red wine and herbs only. This makes the recipe very versatile and you can make your own version, just as it would fit to your meat or fish or vegetarian part, with any herbs and additions that you can think of. For the start, we would suggest that you try out Italian ingredients or anything that you can also use on pasta or a pizza. Most Italians would approve this 🙂
Ingredients for 4 persons
Risotto – a basic recipe
- Risotto rice Arborio, Vialone and Carnaroli
- Onions and/or garlic
- Butter or olive oil
- optional white wine gives a fantastic acid part
- Parmesan or similar cheeses
- Herbs mostly thyme, rosemary, oregano or similar
- Vegetables best with around 15-25 minutes cooking time, like the rice. eg carrots, celery or parsnips
- or Seafood
- or Meat
- or Mushrooms
- or even Fruits
- Make sure to read the tips and tricks below, before you start cooking your risotto! There are a few crucial things to know about the process itself.
- 1. Then start by slightly roasting the rice in butter/olive oil and onions/garlic on a pan (not for too long, just to make the rice “sweat” a bit).
- 2. After this, put the ingredients into the pot according to the cooking time and cook the rice on a low temperature in broth and white wine (optional) until it is creamy while still keeping the rice corn “al dente” (meaning “with a bite”).
- 3. Stir frequently to get the starch out of the rice. The cooking should be long enough to give the right consistency to the risotto, with preparation time depending fully on what type of ingredients being used (for example meat requires a longer cooking time). Add most herbs and butter or cheese at the last stage of your risotto cooking, so the herbs still have most of their taste and oils in it. Also giving in the butter at the end of the process, closes the rice corn pores a bit and keep the risotto glossy and creamy.
Tips and tricks that might help you before and during preparation
- Start by shortly roasting the rice on very low temperature with the oil or butter. This makes the rice corn change its structure by losing moisture and helps the rice to lose its starch into the broth later.
- Do not fill in the wine/broth at once, just glass wise, so you have more control about the overall cooking process and do not overcook it, because you have to get the moisture out. See also point 5!
- After you filled in the broth, give it some time and cook it on a very low temperature while stirring it every now and then. This will get most of the starch out of the rice and make it even creamier.
- Add the butter and/or Parmesan cheese in the last few minutes of the cooking process, so the risotto gets an even creamier texture and some nice looking gloss.
- Do not overcook the risotto, it has to have some bite, called “al dente” in Italy. Check single rice corns every now and then for their bite by trying during the cooking process.
- The risotto should be served hot and tasty. You can also use cups or mugs covered with a few drops of olive oil to create beautiful looking glossy portions.
We hope that our recipe and tips enrichen your kitchen and inspire you to make one or many risotti in the future. We hope that you get familiar with the necessary steps quite quickly and start creating your own versions and experiments from this wonderful side dish and enjoy it with friends and family. Also see a view variants and sides in the gallery below to get inspired.
Risotto basic recipe