This is a step by step guide of How to Make Simple Risotto. This is the basic technique for perfect risotto every time that is not as time consuming as its reputation suggests.

Simple risotto served with basil leaves, Parmesan cheese and wine

What is Risotto?

Risotto is an Italian, vegetarian rice dish made from ‘risotto rice’, Arborio (or carnaroli) rice. The rice is cooked in pan of shallow liquid (usually stock) that is added in small increments then reduced and absorbed between additions. Stirring the rice while it absorbs the liquid brings out the starch and makes for a lovely creamy dish.

Risotto is a very versatile, one pot dish that  you can add just about any ingredients to customize. Common ingredients are vegetables like peas, mushrooms, herbs like saffron and sometimes sausage or seafood but never meat like chicken or beef. The meat course is always served separately in Italy.

Grating Parmesan cheese over risotto

The basic recipe always starts the same. Chopped shallots or onion is cooked in oil, then the rice is toasted in the oil. White wine is added and reduced then the warm stock is added. Once the stock is all gone, butter and Parmesan cheese is mixed in. Keeping the stock warm ensures there is no drop in temperature in the rice each time you add it and keeps it cooking.

There is no cream in the making of risotto

You do not need to add any cream or milk to make risotto creamy. The creaminess comes from the method of cooking the rice. Stirring while the stock is being absorbed allows the starch from the rice to thicken and make the dish creamy.

The Pan

A wide pan with a lot of surface area because you want room for stirring because it is this that develops the starch and thickens the risotto and achieve the creamy texture.


When it comes to servings, a good rule of thumb with risotto is a ratio of 3:1. That would be 3 cups liquid for 1 cup of rice. If you use this rule the risotto will be perfect every time because once all the liquid is absorbed this is the indication that the rice is done.

An overhead image of risotto served in a white bowl with white wine and a fork


The amount of salt depends on how salty your stock is. I recommend adding the salt according to taste at the end of the dish.

The Liquid

The stock is a personal choice. If you want to make this risotto vegetarian use vegetable stock. I prefer chicken stock because it adds more flavor.

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Yield: 4

How to Make Simple Risotto

Risotto served in a white bowl garnished with basil leaves and Parmesan cheese

 This is the basic technique for perfect risotto every time that is not as time consuming as its reputation says it is.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ounces shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated , plus more for garnish


  1. Add the stock to a saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
  2. To a skillet, add the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the rice and stir coating with the oil. Stir in the wine and simmer until absorbed by the rice.
  4. Add a ladle of stock and stir until almost completely absorbed by the rice. Continue this until all of the stock is gone and the rice is tender but not mushy. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and ½ cup Parmesan cheese.
  5. Taste for salt. You may not need to add any if your stock is salty and there is salt in the cheese.
  6. Serve immediately topped with the rest of the Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Information



Amount Per Serving Calories 388Saturated Fat 6gCholesterol 23mgSodium 910mgCarbohydrates 46gProtein 8g