Basic Risotto Recipe

Before we get to the risotto recipe (which is good, scout’s honor) I really should tell you something. Something embarrassing.

I have no idea how to pronounce “risotto” correctly. I flip-flop between riz-O-to and riz-Ah-toΒ constantly, trying to read the reactions of the people around me, to see if one or the other makes people nod and go, “Ah, yes, risotto” or squint their face up and cock their heads and scowl at me then walk away in disappointment. And I’m just left there going, “I said risotto!” like a big idiot.

That revelation probably isn’t going to establish my expertise in the area of risotto recipes and in fact, you’re probably not even reading anymore. But basically, all risotto is is a savory rice pudding. You cook some medium-short grain rice (Arborio — I do know how to pronounce that) by adding hot stock slowly and gradually, stirring all the while the rice grains release their starch and produce their own creamy sauce. Sounds low fat and everything and it is, until you add it a big hunk of butter and a buncha Parmesan cheese. To balance that out, you can add some sauteed vegetables to the basic recipe and viola! Now you have mushroom risotto, asparagus risotto, pumpkin risotto, any number of risottos.

Use my recipe for homemade chicken stock or buy some.


Basic Risotto Recipe

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4.5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


  • 8 cups well-seasoned chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion or shallots
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • extra butter
  • 1/21 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: 2 cups sauteed mushrooms, asparagus


  1. Heat stock to simmer in a large pot.
  2. Heat butter and oil in a wide, deep skillet until warm and add onions, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes until softened and translucent.
  3. Add the rice and stir to coat every grain. Cook the rice over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the grains look more opaque.
  4. Add 1 cup of the simmering stock to the rice and stir constantly until it’s almost absorbed. This will take about 5 minutes.
  5. In 1 cup increments, same as the previous step, add 5 more cups of stock, allowing each cup to absorb before adding the next.
  6. Once 6 cups have been added (this will take 20-30 minutes) taste the rice for salt and texture. Add some salt if necessary. If the rice is still a little too chewy, add another 1/2 cup of stock. (Note: this is also when you will add optional sauteed vegetables.)
  7. Add the rest of the stock in 1/2 cup increments, same as before, but this time taste the rice frequently to test for doneness. When it’s properly cooked, the risotto should be tender without being soft, and moist not dry.
  8. Remove from heat and add another tablespoon or two of butter and the Parmesan. Serve right away.


Leftover risotto can be spread into a pan and cooled. Once cool, it will solidify enough to cut into squares and the squares can be fried in butter to reheat and get crispy.

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  1. Great Stone Face on May 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    You basic risotto recipe is great. Risotto can be a great base for almost any other food, not just vegetables. For example, you could have a lobster risotto. A Texas-style risotto could even include crawfish. (Yes, those are my son’s recipes.) Thanks!

    • Hilah on May 24, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Thanks, GSF! That crawfish risotto looks particularly delicious.

  2. Ryan Ashe on May 24, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Love a good risotto especially when its chilly out. A couple ways I also like to make it is Risotto Milinese, Or a lil Better than Bouillon lobster base and bam lazy mans lobster risotto…

    • Hilah on May 24, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Hi Ryan!
      Risotto is definitely a good cold weather dish. I like your tip for the lazy cooks out there. I’ve never tried (or seen actually) the Better than Bouillon lobster flavor!

  3. Will on May 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Wow, there’s no way I could cook a recipe that takes that much patience and end with something that bland. I drink beer and I’d be so wasted by the time that was finished that I would twist off if it wasn’t something spicy and flavorful. Hey, I love your videos and I feel your pain from doing this one. It was a great video but, WOW, I don’t have that much patience. My hat is if to you. Go have an adult beverage and relax.

    • Hilah on May 25, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Ha! You know, I didn’t think I could do it either, Will, but with my trusty bottle of wine by my side, it wasn’t so bad. πŸ˜‰

      Plus, the fried risotto and bacon cakes I made with leftovers the next day were totally worth it.

  4. Jessica on May 27, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Hi Hilah,
    greetings from Italy! πŸ™‚
    You can hear how we pronounce “risotto” in this video. It’s the Risotto alla Milanese (or Risotto allo zafferano – with saffron) recipe:

    • Hilah on May 27, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Thank you, Jessica!

  5. Argoss on June 12, 2013 at 6:25 am

    Hmmm will try this my self.. looks great..

    • Hilah on June 12, 2013 at 8:09 am

      Hope you enjoy, Argoss!

  6. Rachael on August 24, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Hey hilah I love your cooking channel on YouTube I watch it all the time and I love risotto so I’m willing to try your version as it looks really good I will tell you how I go also I’m thinking of buying your cook book too I’m from Australia and love hearing about things to do with America I like different cultures .

    • Hilah on August 24, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Thanks, Rachael! I hope you try this risotto. Let me know how you like it!
      And if you get the book, send me pictures of the things you try. I actually just got an Aussie cookbook sent to me from “down under” and am really looking forward to trying some Australian recipes, too! πŸ™‚

  7. Will on April 24, 2021 at 9:03 am

    I’m cooking this outside with a stove of cans so we’ll see how it goes but it looks really good and doesn’t take much effort thx for the recipe

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