Ah, risotto!

It’s that creamy, comforting dish that’s the culinary equivalent of a warm hug from an Italian grandmother.

 

The Delightful World of Risotto

And it’s a dish with a long history.

The transformation of rice from simple grain to exquisite risotto is attributed to a family in Milan during the Renaissance.

A young apprentice using saffron as a coloring agent for a stained glass project in the Milan Cathedral and one of the most expensive spices in the world, also added saffron to a rice dish at his own wedding feast.

Thus was born Risotto alla Milanese from which over the centuries other versions of this scrumptious dish sprang.

My version of risotto is topped with sautéed mushrooms and pan-seared scallops, no saffron needed.

Five Tips for Making Risotto

Fast forward to modern day.

Don’t be intimidated. You can master this somewhat mysterious and scrumptious dish even on a busy weeknight.

Here are my five tips for the perfect Risotto.

  1. Toast to Perfection: Begin by toasting your rice in a blend of butter and olive oil. This step creates a nutty flavor, toasts the outside of the rice grain and prepares it to receive the broth without breaking the grain.
  2. Warm Broth is Key: Always add warm stock to your rice. Cool or room temperature broth will slow the cooking process.
  3. Stir with Love: Regular stirring is essential to encourage each grain of rice to release its starch. There is no cream in risotto. The creaminess is produced from the starch released from the rice.
  4. Patience is a Virtue: Risotto is a 16-20 minute labor of love. Adding stock gradually and allowing the rice to absorb it slowly before adding more is key to achieving the perfect consistency.
  5. The Mantecatura Magic: The final step, known as “mantecatura,” involves vigorously stirring in a generous knob of butter and finely grated Parmesan cheese off the heat adding a luxurious, creamy finish that’s simply irresistible.

 

How To Make Risotto on a Weeknight

Can this creamy, one pot dish that dances gracefully between a simple rice dish and a gourmet delight be a reality in your kitchen on a weeknight?

Absolutely!

Think about it this way: In 17  minutes, the average cook tiem for risotto, you have a dish worthy of high praise that you would pay high-dollar for at a restaurant.

So, prep your ingredients the day before or several days before; measure, assemble, and wrap them up on a sheet tray and store it in the fridge.

Pull that sheet tray out and voila, in less than 1/2-hour later you have a creamy, dreamy bowl of risotto.

It’s an impressive and delicious dinner ready in no time flat so you can do what’s most important in life – spend time at the table with your family and friends.

Other dishes you may be interested in exploring: Pan-Seared Scallops with a Ginger and Garlic Rice Noodle Salad Wild Rice with Butternut Squash and Leeks *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.*

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Risotto With Garlic Mushrooms

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Risotto is a one-pot creamy, dreamy rice dish that you’ll want to add to your weeknight rotation. It’s easy and delicious!

  • Author: Chef Sandra Lewis
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 4 fl. oz white wine
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Optional

Instructions

  1. Warm chicken stock in a stockpot over low heat as you prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, heat a 4-qt pot over medium heat.
  3. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot and then add 2 tablespoons of butter.
  4. Add the onion and sauté just until soft and translucent.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of the garlic and sauté just until fragrant.
  6. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with the butter. Toast the rice in the butter for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the white wine allowing it to fully absorb into the rice; stir the rice as it absorbs.
  8. Add the warm stock 3-4 ounces at a time letting it fully absorb each time before adding more.
  9. Stir the rice frequently. This will help the rice to release its starch which gives risotto its creaminess.
  10. Add some kosher salt about halfway through the cooking process.
  11. Taste the risotto as it cooks. Once the rice has reached a texture of al dente, remove the rice from the heat.
  12. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and parmesan cheese.
  13. Taste and adjust the seasoning with kosher salt.
  14. Add a bit more butter or parmesan as desired.

Garlic Mushrooms

  1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the cremini mushrooms and sauté until brown.
  4. Add the remaining garlic, 1-2 minutes before the mushrooms are done.
  5. Stir the creminis into the risotto or use them to garnish individual bowls of risotto.

Optional

  1. Optional: Drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar as a garnish. The vinegar adds a nice tang and a balance to the dish.

Notes

  • Arborio rice is easily found in the grocery store. Other Italian rices that can be used for risotto include carnaroli and vialone nano.
  • You won’t need all of the stock, but it’s better to have more than enough than run short.
  • Serve it with pan-seared scallops, chicken, or tofu.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
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