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Delicious Risotto!

March in New York is the most varied and interesting month.  The weather is never the same two days in a row- first it is snowing and freezing, the next day it is 50 degrees.  The wind blows and clouds flow across grey skies.  Birds return, and then are upset when they are snowed upon.

If you have time and it is cool out you could try making one of my favorite things to cook; risotto.  I love risottos, and always have fun experimenting with different combinations of ingredients.  Risotto is also naturally gluten-free.  The following is a base recipe for any risotto, plus a few suggestions for making several variations.  Feel free to experiment to create your own favorite risotto.

Risotto (basic recipe)

            – 1 Tbsp olive oil

            – 2 Tbsp butter

            – ½ c onion (or shallot for a sweeter flavor), finely chopped

            – 1 tsp garlic, minced

            – 2 c Arborio rice

            – 1 c wine (white is normally used, but red adds a sharper flavor and a nice purple color to the risotto)

            – 4-5 c chicken stock

            – ½ tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper

            -1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

            – ½ c heavy cream

            -¾ c grated parmesan cheese

            – 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat the chicken stock in a sauce pan until it is just boiling and then turn off the heat. 

Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the mixture is soft, about 5 – 10 minutes.  This is called the sofrito, an Italian term meaning a savory base made of a few flavorful ingredients that can be used for soups, stews, and risottos.

Add the rice and toast until it is opaque, about 1-2 minutes, stirring to make sure it does not stick or burn. 

Add the wine and cook until it is almost evaporated.  Add ¾ c of the warm chicken stock along with the salt, pepper, and thyme and cook until liquid is almost evaporated.  Keep adding stock ½ c at a time until rice is tender and risotto looks creamy, 18-20 minutes. 

Stir in the cream, parmesan cheese, and parsley.  Garnish with additional parmesan cheese if desired.



-Add ½ c chopped carrots, fennel, or other root vegetable with the onions.

-Add 6 – 8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms after the onions cook and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates.

-Replace cream with ricotta cheese.  Add ¾ c frozen spinach (thawed and drained).

-Add 2 Tbl fresh lemon juice and 1 tsp lemon zest with first helping of stock (make sure to use white wine).



-I have had to use milk when I forgot to buy cream.  It’s an acceptable substitute, just use a little less.

-When cooking at high altitude add an extra 1 – 2 c stock and another 10 minutes cooking time.

One Thought on “Delicious Risotto!

  1. Stephanie on March 17, 2012 at 9:26 PM said:

    YUM!! Can’t wait to try this.

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