How To Make Perfect Risotto Every Time
A basic recipe that you can use to then make countless variants of risotto. This remains my favourite risotto although I usually make mine with rich beef stock instead of chicken.
This is an elegant and impressive dish that usually replaces the soup course during dinner service.
I hope you read through the recipe notes to grasp certain key fundamental steps!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Sauté
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 1/2 cups of short-grain Italian risotto rice like Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, or Arborio (in order of my personal preference)
- 1 large onion (approximately 400 grams), finely chopped
- 6 cups of homemade chicken stock (you will not use all of it but it is best to have extra just in case)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup microplaned Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving (kept cold in fridge)
- 4 tablespoons butter (for the start)
- 2 tablespoons butter (for the very end, kept cold in fridge)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Sea salt & black pepper to taste
- Heat up your chicken stock to boiling and then quickly lower the heat to the lowest setting. Keep your hot stock but not boiling as you cook your risotto.
- Add the finely chopped onion, butter and olive oil into a heavy-bottomed French Oven or a large-enough (10-inches+) pan that has not been preheated. Turn the heat up to medium.
- Stir the onions until they soften up and become translucent but never brown. Cook them slowly, stirring, turning the heat down to low if necessary.
- Add the rice and keep the heat at medium. Add a small pinch of sea salt. Slowly stir the rice grains around.
- You will eventually hear popping and clicking sounds and the grains will begin to turn a very pale shade of gold. Touch the grains — are they hot to the touch? Time for the next step.
- Pour in your white wine and turn up the heat to med/high. Cook off practically all of the wine and then immediately ladle in enough of the hot stock to cover the grains completely.
- Set your timer to 18-minutes or make note of the time.
- Fiddle with your heat settings so that your risotto is just simmering gently, not boiling nor just sitting there. You should see gentle movement in the stock.
- Stay close by and stir the rice gently to keep it from sticking. You do not need to be stirring continuously for the entire 18-minutes. A wooden spoon or silicone spatula is best.
- Add more broth as it disappears into your rice. Wait until it is almost practically all gone before adding another ladle.
Be patient. It will require all of the 18 minutes to cook the risotto. If it stops absorbing liquid well before, you have kept the heat too high. The center of the grains will be unpleasantly starchy. If it is not ready yet, you have kept it too low. It will become mushy by the time it finally finishes. Remember to keep the stock and rice simmering and make sure your stock is hot to begin with!
At the 18-minute mark, taste your risotto — it should be al dente, tender and creamy but not mushy, there will be a bit of resistance at the center but no starchy mealiness.
Remove the risotto from the heat and allow it to rest for 1-2 minutes and then immediately beat in the cold butter and Parmesan from the fridge. Taste for salt, add more if necessary, and then add freshly ground black pepper.
Serve on plates kept warm in the oven with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
Important: Once the first ladle of chicken stock hits the pan, set your timer to 18 minutes. Do not overcook the risotto, there is a fine line between creamy and mushy. You want the rice al dente.
You can start the risotto in all-butter, all-olive oil, or a mixture of both — just make sure to finish off with butter, and never oil.
Keywords: risotto, porcini mushrooms, white wine, stock, bone broth, risotto fundamentals, make the perfect risotto