This is the BEST risotto recipe ever, and it’s my most requested dish from family and friends. Rich and creamy, it reminds me of the risotto we’ve eaten in Italy but made easily in your very own kitchen. With plenty of freshly grated parmesan, a pinch of saffron if you have it, and enriched with some dry white wine, this risotto is the perfect accompaniment to chicken, salmon, or shrimp, or as a standalone dish to wow!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Rich, decadent, delectable risotto is one of my favorite dishes. I mean, one bite is all it takes to instantly transport me back to our favorite little Italian restaurant. It’s great for holidays, special occasions, or any time you just want to treat yourself a little. This recipe in particular is one my friends and family request I make every time I cook for them, so you KNOW it’s good!
- Don’t let risotto intimidate you. Yes, there’s a lot of stirring involved, but that’s really all there is to it! It’s more time-consuming than complicated, but that low-and-slow method is what makes it so incredible.
- This can be a meal all on its own, or you can pair it with something equally as amazing like Marry Me Chicken, lobster bisque, or seared scallops.
Rice – Traditionally, risotto is made with arborio rice, which gives the dish its signature creaminess, thanks to its higher starch content. If you can’t find arborio rice, sushi rice or another short-grain sticky rice would also work.
White Wine – This dish is incredibly rich and decadent, and the white wine helps cut through that a little. It also adds a really nice flavor profile and a slight acidity. Since this a savory dish, be sure to use a dry white wine (sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, etc.) as opposed to a sweet one. If you don’t have or don’t consume wine, you can use water instead.
Saffron – Totally optional but highly, highly, highly encouraged! Saffron gives the risotto that beautiful golden color and it adds a gorgeous pop of flavor. A little saffron goes a long way, so don’t overdo it.
Parmesan – Use a good quality, fresh parmesan cheese and grate it yourself. Trust me on this one! It melts much better which will ensure your dish stays nice and creamy, and it just has such a nicer flavor than the pre-grated stuff.
- Don’t rinse the rice first! Rinsing the rice removes the starch from the outside of the grains, which is fine for some dishes, but you want that starchiness here. That’s what makes the dish so creamy!
- Make sure the chicken broth stays warm. If you add cool broth to the rice, you’ll stop the cooking process with each ladle.
- I mentioned before there’s a lot of stirring in this process. Basically, don’t ever stop stirring. Add the broth to the rice in very small increments, let it fully evaporate before adding more, and stir constantly until you’ve added all of the broth.
More Rice Dishes You’ll Love
- Instant Pot Jasmine Rice (Under 10 Minutes)
- Easy Baked Pork Chops and Rice
- Best Ever Rice Pilaf
- Dreamy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Greek Shrimp Salad with Feta and Rice
- 5 cups chicken stock plus more if needed
- 1 pinch saffron threads optional, see Notes
- 5 tablespoons butter softened, divided
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups risotto rice see Notes
- ½ cup dry white wine or water
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese room temperature, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 large saucepans
- Small bowl
- In large saucepan, bring chicken stock to boil, then reduce to low simmer. Transfer 1 ladle of stock to small bowl. Add saffron threads and set aside while saffron infuses.
- Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in second saucepan over high heat. Once butter begins to foam, add onions and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. After 2 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Note: cook only until onions and garlic are softened, not browned!
- Add rice to saucepan with onions and stir until grains begin to swell and burst. Add white wine to deglaze pan, being sure to scrape any browned or stuck bits from bottom of saucepan. Let simmer until liquid is mostly reduced.
- Once liquid is mostly reduced, stir in 1 to 2 ladles of stock, all of saffron-infused stock, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir constantly over low heat until liquid has been fully absorbed.
- Continue adding stock in small increments, letting the rice absorb the liquid completely before adding more. Stir constantly and taste frequently, until all stock has been added and absorbed. After about 20 to 25 minutes, rice should be just tender (not mushy!) and risotto should be golden and creamy.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in ⅔ cup of parmesan cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Mix until butter has melted completely. Taste and season as needed, then transfer to serving plates or bowls, top with remaining parmesan cheese, and serve hot.
- Saffron: The saffron is optional, but highly, highly encouraged! It gives the risotto a rich flavor and a gorgeous golden color. A “pinch” of saffron threads could be anywhere from 5 threads to 50, just depending on your personal tastes. A little goes a long way, so I recommend using 5-10 to avoid overpowering the rest of the dish.
- Risotto Rice: Arborio rice is the most common rice for risotto, but you could also use a short-grain sticky rice. Also, don’t rinse the rice before cooking it. You want that starch to make the risotto creamy.
- Make sure the chicken broth stays warm the whole time. If you add cool broth to the rice, you’ll stop the cooking process with each ladle.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.