How to cook the perfect risotto

Creamy, cheesy and packed full of flavour, a well-cooked risotto is a seriously comforting meal to dish up as the weather starts to cool down.

It’s also a lot easier than you think to turn out restaurant-quality, traditional Italian-style risotto in your own kitchen; the secret to mastering that rich, mouth-watering texture is a very simple one.

Get toasty!

After you’ve softened the onion in plenty of melted butter, add the Arborio rice, but give it a few minutes in the pan before you start adding hot liquid.

Toasting the rice in that golden butter for three to four minutes, until the grains are translucent, will start loosening all of those starches.

Which means that, when the chicken stock joins the party, you’re going to end up with that deliciously creamy rice.

Once the grains are hot to the touch you can add the wine to deglaze the pan and then start adding the chicken stock, ladle by ladle, stirring constantly.

And take your time! Make sure all of the stock is absorbed before adding any more; the more you stir, the creamier those grains will become.

It should take about half an hour for all of the liquid to absorb, before you finish the dish off with good-quality parmesan and a knob of butter for a rich, golden sheen.

That’s it! Once you’ve mastered the basic white risotto you can get creative with flavours, playing around with fresh, in-season veg and gorgeous seafood or meat.

At the moment, we’re crushing hard on these delicious combos:

Pumpkin and blue cheese: The sweetness of the pumpkin works beautifully with the tart blue cheese; this one makes for an incredible dinner party main course.

Risotto with seared scallops: Cooking something special for an at-home date night? This is the dish for you.

Cream of chicken risotto with rocket: As far as family favourites go, this one should hit the spot. A delicious chicken risotto really won’t last long.

Roast veg, spinach and pancetta: Cook up a big pot of this veg-packed meal on Sunday afternoon and you’re sorted for work lunches for the week. A super easy way of getting your five-a-day.

Zucchini, pea and mint: Light, fresh and delicate, this gorgeous risotto makes for a perfect midweek meal.

By Deirdre Fogarty

What are you waiting for? Go get stirring. There are even more deliciously easy risotto recipes in the links below, too.

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