Parmesan Risotto

The two most important parts of making a Parmesan risotto are the two main ingredients. Arborio rice is traditionally used for risotto because it is short-grain and the starches are what make risotto creamy. Really good chicken stock is going to lend its flavor to the risotto, so make sure it is super delicious to begin with.

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How Long Does Risotto Really Take?

Lots of people don’t make a delicious Parmesan risotto because they think it takes hours and hours. In reality, it only takes just about 30 minutes and contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to stand at the stovetop stirring the whole time. You can walk around your kitchen, prepare other parts of the meal and simply toss the risotto every once in a while to help redistribute the grains of rice.

Arborio Rice in a blue bowl.

When to Add Liquid 

Now you do have to add the liquid to the risotto a little at a time, so you can’t go and watch television while you’re preparing dinner, but you probably have enough to do in that kitchen that will keep you there for 30 minutes. 

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Risotto in a skillet with a yellow spatula.

How to Make Risotto

Start by sautéing some onions, perhaps some garlic. Do make sure you chop the onion finely so that it sort of melts into the risotto. A little white wine added as the first liquid in the risotto will enhance the flavor, giving it a little more depth. Then, stir in your beautiful chicken stock a little at a time and continue to stir or toss the risotto every few minutes.

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Parmesan risotto on a grey plate with knife and fork and tumbler of wine.

What Ingredients to Add to Risotto

Adding ingredients to the risotto is easy. Just think about how long it takes to cook the ingredient and add that to the pan when there’s roughly that much time left. For instance, asparagus or fresh peas can be added to the pan when you think you have about 10 minutes of cooking left. Shrimp could be added when you think you have about 5 minutes left. You can also just use plain Parmesan risotto as a bed for another dish, like short ribs or a sautéed chicken breast. 

Pressure Cooker Risotto

You may also have heard that you can make risotto in the pressure cooker. It’s true! You can cut the cooking time down from 30 minutes to roughly 7 minutes. Curious? Check out my recipe for Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage here

 

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

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How to Cut an Onion

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Risotto

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 35 m
  • Total Time: 45 m
  • Servings:
    3
    4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter plus more at the end of cooking optionally
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine optional
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley optional
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and keep warm.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and olive
  4. oil to the pan. Cook the onion until translucent and tender –about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the rice and coat each kernel well with the butter and olive oil. Add the white wine (if using) and stir until the wine has almost disappeared.
  6. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the pan and stir until almost all the liquid has disappeared again. Then, add another ladle of stock and continue to stir. Continue in this manner until the rice reaches the desired tenderness, adding one ladle of stock at a time. If you run out of stock before the rice has cooked to your satisfaction, simply continue using water instead of stock.
  7. When the rice is tender, remove the pan from the heat and stir in any cooked ingredients that you’d like in your risotto, along with the Parmesan cheese, more butter if desired and fresh parsley.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Spoon a mound of risotto in the center of the plate and garnish with more cheese if desired.
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