Risotto Basics;

Traditionally Risotto originates from Northern Italy where rice is grown on the plains of Lombardy; Risotto rice comes in a many different varieties most commonly available in supermarkets is Arborio, (named after the town of Arborio) the rice is cooked in broth to a creamy consistency.  The ingredients of a basic Risotto are butter, onion, wine and broth which can be made from veal, fish or vegetable.  It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy; One of my favourite recipes is Risotto with mushrooms ( ai Funghi);

Risotto can be served as a first course, a main course or as an accompaniment, like the Saffron Risotto most commonly served with Osso Buco.

The basics series of posts are designed to introduce concepts and techniques from which you can build your cooking skills; This recipe is for a basic risotto; with an option of adding Saffron to make Risotto Milanese;

Recipe Serves 5;


50 grams of butter

50 ml Olive oil for frying

1 small onion

500 grams of arborio rice

2 Liters of chicken or Veal Stock

Grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup of white wine


Add Saffron strands (or powder) to a cup of hot stock to allow the bright yellow color of the Saffron stain the broth;

this can be added to the risotto early in the cooking process to add colour.

Also a cup of fresh or defrosted frozen peas; for some additional color;


finely chop the onion;

grate at least 1/2 cup of Parmesan (unless it is already grated);

divide the butter in two pieces


Coat the bottom of a thick based casserole or stock pot with the olive oil and half the butter;

melt the butter;

add the chopped onion; add a pinch of salt;

fry til onion until it softens a little;

add the rice to the pot and stir fry til rice absorbs the flavours of the oil for a few minutes;

add the white wine and allow it to be absorbed by the rice for at least a minute;

using a ladle add a enough stock to cover the rice and bring back to the boil;

lower the heat to a medium simmer;

optional step; (at this point add the cup of stock infused by saffron);

you will continue to add stock little by little as the rice absorbs the stock;

continue with this method for around 20-25 minutes;

or as long as it takes to cook the rice slightly “al dente” (firm to bite) keeping the rice slightly wet; be careful no to dry out the risotto; I personally prefer my risotto quite wet; (all’onda or wavy) you can decide the consistency you prefer;


remove the risotto from the heat;

add the remaining butter and half the grated Parmesan;

stir the butter and Parmesan through the hot risotto to achieve a creamy consistency ;

serve into bowls;

top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan;

enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine;

Buon Appetito;



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