How To Cook Risotto

POSTED June 29, 2016

Risotto, Italian Rice

For most people, when they think Italian, they think pasta. But what about pasta’s Northern Italian cousin?

Risotto is a creamy, hearty rice dish made with short-grain Italian Arborio rice grown in the Northern Italian region of Piemonte. The rice itself is starchy enough to thicken and create its own sauce. Versatile and pantry friendly, risotto is the perfect base to any number of toppings and add-ins from roasted fall veggies and cheeses to meats and seafood.

As much as it is loved, cooking risotto has a reputation for being tedious. Sure, it’s a delicate process that requires some attention to detail, but it’s worth mastering. We promise!

Step-by-Step Risotto

Step 1: In a large saucepot, heat 5 to 6 cups chicken stock and keep at a steady simmer.

Chicken stock simmering in a large saucepot

Step 2: Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 (6.7-ounce) jar DeLallo Soffritto Sauteed Vegetable Cooking Base and cook until hot, about 3-4 minutes. You can substitute 1 small diced onion for the soffritto.

Delallo soffritto sauteed vegetable cooking base being added into the saucepan
Delallo soffritto sauteed vegetable cooking base being stirred in the saucepan

Add 1 ½ cups DeLallo Risotto Arborio Rice or DeLallo Carnaroli Rice to the saucepan and stir to coat each grain.

Delallo Risotto Arborio Rice being added into the suacepan
Wooden spoon stirring the risotto exposing the bottom of the pot

Step 4: Once the rice is opaque, about 4 minutes, add ½ cup dry white wine and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes.

White wine being poured into the pot

Step 5: Add ½ cup of the simmering broth to the saucepan. Stir until almost completely absorbed.

Broth being added by a ladle

Step 6: Continue to cook the rice by adding the broth one ladle at a time. Stir continuously and allow the broth to be absorbed before adding the next.

Broth being added by a ladle
Wooden spoon stirring the risotto
Broth being added by a ladle

Step 7: Continue this process until the rice becomes al dente, or tender and creamy with a firm bite, about 22 minutes total.

Pot with stirred risotto

Step 8: Remove from heat, stir in the grated cheese and serve. Top with more cheese, if desired.

Grated Cheese being added into the pot with the risotto
A wooden spoon is mixing in cheese to the risotto
Pot with stirred risotto

7 Tips for a Great Risotto

  • Always use warm stock. Keep stock simmering before you add it to your risotto. Using cold stock will interfere with the cooking process. Stock to rice ratio: 4 cups stock to 1 cup rice.
  • Stir, stir, stir. Stir often, but not constantly, to release the grains’ natural starches.
  • Add stock slowly, one ladle at a time. Once liquid has been absorbed, add another.
  • Don’t overcook. As with pasta, the aim is for an al dente bite—tender but firm. The texture of the overall dish should be creamy, not mushy or gluey. And once cooked, serve it up immediately!
  • The right tools for the job. A wide low saucepan with a heavy bottom ensures even cooking and ideal space for evaporating liquids. We also recommend a wooden spoon for stirring.
  • Save add-ins for the end. Cook and season ingredients separately from your risotto and stir in after rice is cooked.
  • Finish it off right! Once combined with your flavorful ingredients, remove from the stove to add butter and cheese. One more ladle of broth may be needed to keep the creamy consistency.
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Recipe: Italian Rice Balls (Arancini di Riso)
Recipe: Wild Mushroom Risotto

Need some more inspiration? Check our gallery of recipes!