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Close up view of risotto in a ceramic bowl
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The Best EVER Risotto Recipe

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!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword creamy rice, restaurant quality, valentine's day
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 370kcal

Equipment

  • 2 large saucepans
  • ladle
  • Small bowl

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
    Chicken stock and saffron in a small glass bowl
  • 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!
    Onions in a large saucepan
  • 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.
    Arborio rice in a large saucepan
  • 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.
    Risotto rice with liquid in saucepan
  • 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.
    Arborio rice and parmesan in a large saucepan with a wooden spoon

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 1165mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 422IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 218mg | Iron: 3mg | Net Carbs: 42g