Classic Creamy Risotto

Classic Creamy Risotto

There’s something about a creamy, comforting bowl of risotto that feels like a warm hug to your palate. This traditional Northern Italian rice dish has a reputation for being fussy, but with patience and a little technique, you can create a sumptuous, restaurant-quality risotto in your own kitchen. Today, we’ll be walking through the steps to achieve a perfect creamy risotto that can be both a sophisticated entrée or a heartwarming side dish.


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, warmed
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish


  1. Start by heating the stock in a saucepan over low heat. Warm stock ensures the cooking process is uniform and helps the rice absorb the liquid better.
  2. In a separate, large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic, sautéing until they become translucent and aromatic.
  3. Stir in the Arborio rice, toasting it lightly for about 1-2 minutes until it’s well-coated with the oil. This step is crucial as it initiates the release of starch from the rice, which leads to the desired creaminess.
  4. Pour in the white wine and let it simmer until the liquid is almost fully absorbed. The wine adds acidity to balance the richness of the dish.
  5. Begin to add the warm stock, one ladle at a time, stirring continuously. Wait until each addition of stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next. This process, which usually takes about 18-20 minutes, shouldn’t be rushed as it helps create the right texture.
  6. Once the rice is ‘al dente’, tender with a slight bite to it, remove the pan from the heat. Add butter and grated Parmesan cheese, stirring well to combine into the rice and create a velvety finish.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remember that the Parmesan will add some saltiness, so be mindful of how much additional salt you use.
  8. Serve the risotto immediately, garnished with fresh herbs of your choice for a pop of color and added flavor.

Tips and Variations:

  • Constant stirring is key in making risotto to encourage the creaminess from the starch.
  • Feel free to add cooked mushrooms, roasted vegetables, or cooked seafood to the risotto to make it more robust.
  • If you prefer a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock and consider adding a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for an umami boost.
  • Leftover risotto can be used to make arancini, delicious fried risotto balls.

Preparing a perfect risotto may seem daunting, but once you get the hang of the technique, it will become a staple in your culinary repertoire. Enjoy the process and the creamy, comforting results!

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