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Risotto Basics

by Emma on May 1, 2012

in Dinner

I think the first time I ever made risotto was about three years ago. You know what’s weird, I don’t think I have actually ever eaten risotto at a restaurant. Every time I’ve ever had it, I’ve made it. I believe I first got into it because the main character in a murder mystery novel I was reading made risotto and I thought that sounded pretty cool. Plus that character was british, really into philosophy and she solved murders… so she seemed like she knew what was what. And that’s how my love of risotto first began. It was a food obsession of mine for a while, and then life kept going and it had probably been almost 2 years since I’d made it.

Until a few months ago; the boyfriend and I have recently gone through a bit of a risotto kick. I think it has mainly come about for a few reasons: creamy cheesy rice is delicious—why would you not want to eat that all the time, its super easy to make, it’s a very easy dish to make vegetarian (or pescatarian) and we bought a big container of arborio rice and I really only know how to make two things with arborio rice (risotto and rice pudding). So the risotto food obsession has seen a reoccurrence in my life; and I’m welcoming it back like an old friend.

Basic Risotto, makes 2-3 servings.

Needed: 1 cup arborio rice (you can use other rices but the texture will not be the same), 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or whatever stock you like), 1/2 cup wine (white or red, or use more stock if you don’t like/have wine), 1/4 cup chopped onion (any kind), 2-3 tablespoons oil or butter, 1/2 cup shredded cheese (any kind, my favorites for risotto are parmesan or Gruyère but be adventurous!). You can add chopped herbs, pesto or a couple of tablespoons of cream if you like. I usually make some kind of sautéed vegetables to go with it too, whatever is in season or just in your refrigerator is great.

In a deep pot over medium/high heat sauté the chopped onions in the oil until they begin to soften. Add in the dry rice and continue to sauté until the grains begin to look translucent. While you are doing this have another pot over low heat with the stock and wine in it. Begin ladling a big scoop (or two) of the stock mixture into the rice. Stir. Stir. Stir. Once the liquid has mostly absorbed into the rice add another spoonful or two and keep stirring. Taste the risotto once most of the liquid has been added, season with salt and pepper (or whatever you think it needs). Once the rice is done stir in the cheese (and any optional ingredients you want). Serve hot and creamy with a side of anything.

xo. Emma


Mama Smith @projectlittlesmith May 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Ooh risotto is one of my favorites too. It’s so adaptable and comforting. Your’s looks yummy! I recently posted a beet risotto on my blog which is also tasty and colorful… I’ll post the link in case you want to give it a try :)

Abby May 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I absolutely love rice, and have always wanted to try making risotto, but was too afraid to attempt it. I think I might give it a shot after this post. Thanks for sharing!

Freya May 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I’ve always wanted to try risotto! A friend ordered it in a restaurant once and I sampled it and boy was it delicious! I want a dish to myself! Thanks for the tips!

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet May 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I adore risotto; like grown-up macaroni and cheese.

I have an incredible Meyer lemon risotto that I make; really bright and light but still creamy and cheesy. So good, especially if you’re a fellow risottophile!

Erin May 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm

As a vegetarian, I agree it’s so versatile! I really enjoy making this summer risotto recipe I found. The cherry tomatoes and pearl onions just pop in you mouth. So good! xo

Amy May 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I’ve been making risotto this way for years now and it’s delicious! A nice squeeze of lemon and chopped chives add such a brightness!

mon amy

The slow pace May 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm

It’s been a while since I prepared risotto! I’ll have to change that!

loulou May 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm

And the only time I have ever had risotto was in a restaurant. But your post here makes me want to try to make it at home! It is sooo delicious .. love the stuff.


Megan May 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I know exactly what book and what scene you are talking about! Isabel Dalhousie (well, Alexander McCall Smith) makes everything sound great!

LARY@ Inspiration Nook May 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

This looks amazing. I will have to make it soon. The best one I’ve ever had was a red wine risotto. I still dream about it.

Foodloveandhappiness May 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I love risotto, make it all the time! This weekend I made a risotto with tomato and basil :)

eeny May 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm

i love love love risotto. It’s great with about anything. Asparagus and shrimp is my favorite though.

Darlene May 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm

My favorite is butternut squash risotto! Incredible stuff!

Chrissa - a tad bit creative May 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Thanks for this recipe, Emma! I’ve never made risotto before but actually bought some at the supermarket the other day with the intention to make it! So I look forward to giving this a go :)

Rachel May 2, 2012 at 1:19 am

Risotto is my absolute favorite. If i see it on the menu at a restaurant, I have to get it every time. I’ve only made it once at home and I was just winging it and it was absolutely the best cheesy dream of a meal I have ever had. I could never recreate it. But I’m willing to try it again. Thanks for the tips.

GRACE May 2, 2012 at 2:52 am

YUM! Although, I don’t have the talent to make this perfectly … it’s so so yummy. Risotto is a definite favorite of mine and this looks delish.

*I’m having one of my first giveaways!

Kymberly May 2, 2012 at 4:26 am

But what was the book!

Emma May 2, 2012 at 6:33 pm

It was a Sunday Philosophy Club novel, Alexander McCall Smith. Love all his books!

Toni May 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I absolutely love Risotto and always like finding and trying out alternatives to my recipe. So will definitely give yours a go soon. It looks divine :)
I add some finely chopped celery to my onions and sometimes replace the wine with dry vermouth for a slightly sweeter taste.
Absolutely favorite risotto at our house is: spinach and creamy goats cheese risotto.
Toni x

Claudia May 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Hi, Emma, I don’t know if you can find it in US, but I suggest you to make risotto with “carnaroli”: it’s another kind of rice and here in Italy it’s used to make risotto because it’s a rice that stays firm when cooked and the results are great! For different recipes we use other types, like “arborio”, “parboiled” (for rice salad), “basmati” (for Oriental recipes), “Roma” (If I’m right it’s used for soups…) and others.
But “carnaroli” it’s the best for risotto, listen to me, baby :D

Emma May 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Oh cool—I’ve never used carnaroli before. I will have to look for that! Thanks for the tip. :)

ralizabeth May 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

sounds and looks delicious! i’ve been looking for new things to try.

stephanie kelley May 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

This looks so delicious Emma!! I can’t wait to make it :)

Steph at

kelsey May 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Yummy! I’ve always wanted to try risotto….my new goal is to try it this summer! Thanks for the recipe Emma!

Bridget May 3, 2012 at 1:37 am

I just made this -literally 5 minutes ago. I almost had to lie down on the floor it is so good! NOM NOM NOM! Thank you for sharing this recipe, will definitely make this again and again!

Kelsi May 3, 2012 at 2:52 am

Hi Emma! I tried this recipe tonight, and it was so, sooo good. I can see this becoming a staple in our home. Is it supposed to be sorta crunchy though, or did I just not cook it long enough? I’ve only had risotto a couple times before and can’t remember if it was crunchy or kinda mushy like regular rice. I liked the crunchiness, but I don’t want to serve it to someone that way if it’s not supposed to be. :)

Agnieszka May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I’ve never tried eating or making risotto, but I think I should totally give it a try! :)
Thanks for the recipe Emma.


Lauren May 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I also adore Risotto! In the winter it’s my go to comfort food… I’ve never made rice pudding before but that sounds pretty amazing too. The other day, I found this recipe and thought of you and your love of strawberries :)

Emma May 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm

hello, I’m Emma too.

From Cupcakes, With Love May 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

You know, I just came back from Italy, and I couldn’t find a single restaurant with risotto on the menu!! It was crazy. I love it so much though, probably because im mildly addicted to parmesan haha!

From Cupcakes, With Love x