Anytime I see risotto on a menu, I order it. I’m a lot like Pavlov’s dog in that way. Which is really silly, because I know how to make risotto.

And, can I tell you a little secret?

It’s really easy to make.* Now, some of you might disagree, and I will concede that it is a little high maintenance. All you have to know about making risotto is that you have to stir a lot. So, just plan on standing at the stove while it cooks. That’s it. If you can stir, you can make risotto.

Now, there are a million variations on risotto. I’ve made versions with red wine, butternut squash or peas and asparagus. I once put together a lemon version. But, my go to is from Ms. Giada. It’s just a basic risotto, nothing fancy, but the flavors are wonderful and comforting. In my opinion, it’s exactly what risotto should be.

Basic Risotto

Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis

Makes 6 side-dishes or 3 greedy, main courses


4 c. reduced sodium chicken broth

3 tbsp. butter (unsalted)

3/4 c. finely chopped onion

1 1/2 c. Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice (I’ve only used Arborio.)

1/2 c. dry white wine

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep it hot over low heat. (I typically don’t cover it, but that is because I’m lazy.)

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, but not brown. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter.

Add the wine (I used Chardonnay, but pretty much anything you would drink will work. Just be sure not to choose anything too sweet.) and simmer until it has almost completely evaporated. Add 1/2 c. of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. I like to use a heat-proof, Pyrex measuring cup, but a ladle would work as well.

Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth a 1/2 c. at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next. After the final ladle of broth is absorbed, the rice should be tender, but still firm and the mixture should be creamy. When all of the broth has been incorporated, remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and the last tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I am eating spaghetti-o’s tonight shaped like Disney princesses. It is not always risotto night at my house.


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