This risotto recipe is the perfect, authentic, traditional Italian way to make risotto using the best rice for risotto: Carnaroli. No shortcuts! It is completely versatile, once you master this technique you can make any risotto you like. Here are the steps you need to follow and any tips you need to know. For a fancy dinner party, serve it in a Parmesan bowl to make your table even more festive!
- What is risotto
- What rice to use for risotto
- My prefered brand for Risotto Rice
- Getting ready to make the Perfect Risotto
- How to make the perfect risotto
- Shortcuts to make an Easy risotto
- What to do with left-over risotto
- Parmesan bowls
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Recipes you might also like
- 📋The Perfect Authentic Risotto Recipe
What is risotto
Risotto is an Italian dish where the rice is cooked slowly adding stock gradually and constantly stirring.
This specific technique of cooking the rice creates a creamy but firm rice dish, usually combined with different ingredients, the most common being vegetables or fish.
It is served as a primo piatto, before the main dish.
Risotto, like pasta, can be mixed with so many different ingredients. Creativity can flow freely and adapt to each season and country.
It is important to follow the basic guidelines on how to make a perfect Italian Risotto.
It takes time and cares! However, once you master them you are set.
You can experiment with many different flavors, making a different one each day. Here I make Risotto alla Milanese (saffron) and Risotto with Porcini mushrooms.
For a fancy dinner party, serve it in a Parmesan bowl to make your dinner even more festive!
What rice to use for risotto
You cannot make risotto with any rice. You have to use a specific rice grain that will make the risotto creamy while remaining firm. The best rice to use is Carnaroli, second-best Arborio.
Carnaroli rice is perfect for risotto because it has a higher starch content, making the risotto creamier. In addition, it is firmer and keeps better "al dente" once cooked.
The rice brand is very important, like pasta. If you don't use the right brand you risk having a mushy tasteless risotto.
My prefered brand for Risotto Rice
This post is sponsored by Riso Gallo which is the brand I normally buy for my risotto.
If you use the rice from ‘Riso Gallo’ you can be sure of your success. (affiliate link)
They are one of the oldest Italian rice producers and the largest producer in Europe. They have been operating since 1856, and their rice is available in most European supermarkets.
They offer a wide variety of rice, however, if you are planning to make a “Signature Risotto” you need to use Carnaroli Grand Riserva, produced to very high standards to ensure a perfect result each time.
Getting ready to make the Perfect Risotto
Before you get started there are a few important points I would recommend:
- Stock: It is very important to use homemade stock. This is why I always have my homemade stock reserve in the freezer! If you missed the post about how to make stock in a pressure cooker, you can find it here.
- Salt: Do not use unsalted stock. If your stock is not salted add a cube stock. Salt added at the end, once the risotto is done, will not distribute uniformly. If you need to adjust for salt at the end you can add some extra Parmesan which is salty but will combine more easily.
- For 1 lb - 500 gr of rice you will need approximately 6 cups - 1.5 litres of stock.
- Do not use all the stock if the rice is cooked before all the stock is used up. It is better to throw away stock than having a watery risotto. I use it to deglaze the roast pan and make gravy
- As a rule of thumb, you need 1 cup of rice per person
- Because risotto requires a lot of stirring I recommend using a wooden spoon with a comfortable handle.
- Get yourself a glass of wine to drink away while you are stirring. Risotto needs your full attention for at least 20 minutes
Once you have the right ingredients and tools at hand (a wooden spoon and a large pan) you are ready to start cooking this risotto recipe.
How to make the perfect risotto
The procedure is very simple and separated into 7 steps
- Step 1: Prepare the ingredients you want to add to the risotto
- Step 2: Stir-fry the onion and the rice
- Step 3: Start adding the stock
- Step 4: Cook the rice adding the stock and stirring
- Step 5: Checking the cooking timing
- Step 6: Adding the ingredients
- Step 7: The risotto has to be "Mantecato", you need to add fat
Step 1: Preparing the ingredients you want to add to risotto
If you are not a confident cook, I recommend preparing the ingredients you want to add to your risotto before you start.
You can add any ingredients you like. The most common risottos have mushrooms or squash or zucchini. Risotto with seafood is also very common.
Generally speaking, the ingredients to add to risotto are often stir-fried or baked.
To give you an example I will tell you how to make a classic risotto with Porcini mushrooms, in English called Cep mushrooms.
Preparing the Porcini mushrooms for risotto
Fresh porcini mushrooms should not be cleaned underwater as they will absorb the water like a sponge.
- To clean the Porcini use a mushroom brush and some kitchen towels.
- Stir fry the chopped garlic with butter.
- Dice the fresh Porcini mushrooms and add to the pan
- Stir until cooked but still firm
- Add salt and pepper and put aside
The Porcini mushrooms will be added at the end, once the rice is cooked.
This way the fresh mushrooms will not mash while the risotto is continually stirred but remain whole, adding a nice chewy porcini texture to each bite.
If it is not the Porcini season you can use frozen Porcini instead of fresh ones, it's not too bad!!
Even if the best Porcini mushroom risotto is made with fresh Porcini (Cep mushrooms in English), I can also recommend using dry Porcini. You can find them in an Italian supermarket.
Soak the dry mushrooms in hot water until they are softened. You can add them to the fresh porcini when you stir fry them.
The rice will absorb the flavor
Step 2: Stir-fry
- Stir fry the onion with butter at very low heat, the onion should not burn.
- Once the onion becomes translucent, add the rice and increase the heat.
- The rice has to toast in the butter so that the grains are sealed.
- Once the rice is toasted, add 1 cup of dry white wine and let it evaporate. (Some people use expensive wine (+15€ ). I don’t, sorry Risotto. I’d rather drink it myself!!
- Once the wine has evaporated, lower the heat but not too much.
Step 3: Add The Stock
- Keep the stock warm at low heat in a pan next to the rice.
- Add the first ladle of warm stock and start counting the cooking time as indicated on the rice package (each rice has a different cooking time).
- The stock in the rice should be boiling at all times.
If you are making Risotto alla Milanese
If you are making the classic Risotto alla Milanese, the saffron should be added to the beef stock before you add the stock to the rice.
So to make my Risotto alla Milanese I use brown beef stock exclusively made with bone marrow.
Step 4: Cooking the rice
- Add the stock only when “the rice asks for it”, and always in small quantities.
- The rice must be continually stirred so that the grains do not stick together.
Important points when cooking the rice
The rice should be continually stirred and the stock added regularly but only 1 or 2 ladles at a time. If immersed in stock the rice will have a boiled taste.
It is the friction of the stirring that creates that typical creamy consistency of the risotto.
Step 5: Cooking timing
- When you see that the rice could be ready, taste it. It should be cooked but still firm and al dente.
Important points about cooking time
Each rice has a cooking time written on the package, usually around 15 to 20 minutes. But you should not follow it to the minute, use it only as a reference.
It is only by tasting it that you can perfectly time when the Risotto is cooked and ready to eat.
Step 6: Adding the ingredients
- Usually, I add the ingredients 3 minutes before the rice is completely cooked
Important points about adding the ingredients
Whatever risotto you are making is up to you as to when you need to add the additional ingredients. Vegetables, fish or meat, should have been cooked separately beforehand and added towards the end of the cooking process.
The only exception is seafood risotto as the seafood should not be cooked for long. Add it raw 3 minutes before the rice is done.
Step 7: Mantecato
Once the rice is cooked, it has to be “mantecato” which means you have to add fat. It originated from the Spanish word Manteca, butter. This makes the rice creamier and shiny.
- Add butter or Parmesan to the risotto
- Stir the rice well and cover for a minute for the fat to be absorbed.
- Once rested, the Risotto is ready to be served!
Important points about the added fat
Normally butter and parmesan are added, but depending on the recipe sometimes it is olive oil or yogurt.
Never add cheese to a seafood risotto, it will cover the fresh taste of the sea.
Shortcuts to make an Easy risotto
There are no shortcuts to make an easy risotto.
Risotto is risotto and that is that!
You can find recipes that use Pressure Pan or Instant Cooker, it is not the same thing.
The stock is added all at once at the beginning of the cooking process and the rice will come out much more watery compared to the real risotto.
So, go ahead and make it if you don't have time to stir away for 20 minutes.
It is still a meal, but it is not a risotto!
What to do with left-over risotto
If you have left-over risotto, you are in luck. There are many delicious recipes you can make with it, and here are some ideas:
- Vegetarian Rice Timbale with Grilled Eggplants Recipe
- Rice Arancini Recipe Gluten Free and Vegetarian
- Fried Risotto Balls From Calabria
Serving the risotto on a Parmesan bowl is a very fancy way to present Risotto at a dinner party.
Parmesan bowls are not too difficult to make. You can make them hours before serving them so you can practice before your guests arrive.
As Parmesan is very expensive I would recommend using Grana Padano, a more reasonably priced cheese very similar to the Parmesan.
You can also try with Pecorino cheese, but Pecorino is more pungent than Parmesan and it could overpower the ingredients you are using on your risotto. I wouldn't recommend Pecorino with Porcini mushrooms.
To make the Parmesan bowls, you need a pan for crepes, with very low sides.
It will make it easier to remove the toasted Parmesan when it is ready.
If you don't have a pan for crepes you can also melt the Parmesan in the oven on parchment paper.
Making the Parmesan bowls
- Lay a thin layer of grated Parmesan on the hot pan at medium heat. Make sure it is uniformly distributed.
- Wait until all the cheese is melted and bubbly
- Gently lift the outer border of the cheese with a spatula until the cheese is toasted and lift up easily.
- Turn the pan and let the cheese slide and lean over the base of a cup put upside down on a cutting board
- Let the cheese cool down completely before turning it over and put it on a serving plate.
- Once cold it will be solid and keep its shape
Frequently Asked Questions
No, the result will not be the same. The rice for risotto has a high starch content and chunky grains. That is what makes the risotto creamy and consistent at the same time. The basmati rice doesn't have enough starch and it is too thin and the sushi rice is too soft.
In Italy, we use 1 (tea) cup of rice per person as we serve it as a primo piatto before the main.
No, as you are adding the stock all at once you are practically boiling the rice in stock. That is not risotto and will not have the same consistency.
Risotto is very versatile like pasta. You can serve it with almost any ingredients: vegetables, meat, seafood. If you would like some ideas on the vegetarian risotto you can look at the article: 10 Vegetarian Pizza Toppings Using Fresh Vegetables and use the same combination of ingredients for the risotto.
Yes, you can make risotto without wine, however, the flavor will be slightly different but it is not essential. Although, I would recommend using wine at least when you make risotto with seafood.
If risotto is cooked in the traditional way, there is no need to add cream to make it creamy. However, the cream is added to the risotto in some recipes at the end of the cooking process. Once the risotto is ready, fat is added before serving it. Usually, the fat is butter and parmesan, but it can also be cream.
In Italy risotto is usually a primo piatto served after the appetizers and before the main. However, you can serve it as a side for your main course meat as well as seafood. The choice depends on the vegetables you are using in the risotto and the way you cook the meat. Osso buco is served with saffron risotto, risotto with porcini can be a side for a chicken, lemon risotto can be serves as a side to seafood. In Italy we never serve cheese with seafood.
It depends on the ingredients you are using for a risotto. Dry white wine is usually the best, but if you are serving the risotto with a rich meat you can use a red wine or Marsala.
Recipes you might also like
For more rice recipes, check out the category: Rice
Also check the recipes below:
- Champagne Risotto Served In A Parmesan Wheel
- Scallops And Risotto With Peas And Bacon
- Lemon Shrimp Risotto
- Black Rice Recipe With Apple, Avocado And Carrots
- Italian Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
- Baked Rice Pilaf
- Homemade Paella Seafood And Sausage
Now that you know the basic rules to make the perfect Italian risotto, get your imagination going and make your own risotto recipe. Please, tell me your ideas in the comments below, I would be delighted to hear.
📋The Perfect Authentic Risotto Recipe
Base ingredients for Risotto
Additional ingredients for Risotto alla Milanese
- 1 package saffron (use brown beef stock)
Preparing the Porcini for the Risotto
- Soak the dry mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes and add the water to the stock. You can use either brown beef or chicken stock.5 cup homemade stock, 1 pakage dried porcini, 1 cup boiling water
- If you are using fresh porcini, brush off the dirt with a brush10 oz fresh porcini
- Cut the dirt off the end of the stem
- In a separate pan stir-fry the fresh (or frozen) Porcini mushrooms with butter, garlic salt and pepper. Remove the garlic once cooked.2 cloves peeled garlic cloves, ¼ cup butter
Stir-frying the Rice
- Stir fry the onion with 30 gr of butter at very low heat, the onion should not burn.⅓ cup butter, 1 onion diced
- Once the onion becomes translucent, add the rice and increase the heat. The rice has to toast in the butter so that the grains are sealed.1 lb Carnaroli rice
- Once the rice is toasted add 1 cup of white wine and let it evaporate.1 cup dry white wine
Preparing the stock
- Warm up the stock. It should be kept warm at low heat in a pan next to the rice.
Stock for Risotto alla Milanese
- Use brown beef stock exclusively made with bone marrow and add 1 or 2 packages of saffron1 package saffron
Cooking the rice
- Once the wine has evaporated, lower the heat but not too much. Add the first ladle of warm stock and start counting the cooking time. The stock in the rice should be boiling all the time.
- The rice should be continually stirred and stock added regularly but only 1 or 2 ladles at a time.
Adding the ingredients
- Vegetables, fish or meat, should already have been cooked separately and added towards the end of the cooking process. Usually after 13 minutes of cooking. in this porcini recipe add the Procini mushrooms.
- After 15/18 minutes of cooking the rice, taste it to check if done and if it needs more salt or pepper. Adjust seasoning.
- Once the rice is done to your taste, take it away from the heat.⅓ cup butter
- Add the remaining butter and Parmesan, stir well, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Serve immediately
- The best rice to use is Carnaroli, second-best Arborio
- For a “Signature Risotto” use Carnaroli Grand Riserva, produced to very high standards by the oldest Italian Rise Producer Riso Gallo
- Because risotto requires a lot of stirring I would recommend using a wooden spoon with a comfortable handle.
- It is also very important to use homemade stock. This is why I always have my homemade stock reserve in the freezer! If you missed the post about stock, you can find it here.
- For 1 lb - 500 gr of rice you will use approximately 6 cups - 1.5 litres of stock.
- If you are not a confident cook, I recommend preparing the ingredients you want to add to your risotto before you start.
- Generally speaking, the ingredients to add to risotto are often stir-fried or baked.
- Fresh porcini mushrooms should not be cleaned underwater as they will absorb the water like a sponge. Use a mushroom brush and some kitchen towel.
- The water where you soak the dry mushrooms is full of flavour, and you can add it to the stock you use to cook the rice. The rice will absorb the flavour of the porcini while cooking, enhancing its earthy taste.
- Some people use expensive wine (+15€ ) to flavour the risotto. A € 7 per bottle dry white wine is fine
- To make Risotto alla Milanese use brown beef stock exclusively made with bone marrow.
- The rice should be continually stirred and the stock added regularly but only 1 or 2 ladles at a time. If immersed in stock the rice will have a boiled taste.
- It is the friction of the stirring that creates that typical creamy consistency of the risotto.
- Each rice has a cooking time written on the package, usually around 15 to 20 minutes. But you should not follow it to the minute, use only as a reference. It is only by tasting it that you can perfectly time when the Risotto is cooked and ready to eat.
- Once the rice is cooked, it has to be “mantecato” which means you have to add fat.
- There are no shortcuts to make an easy risotto
- If you use a Pressure pan or an Instant cooker you will have to add the stock all at once at the beginning of the cooking process. The rice will come out watery and not creamy.
- If you have left-over risotto, you are in luck. There are many delicious recipes you can make with it, you will find many ideas above