Introduction: Microwave Risotto

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Risotto is amazing and delicious, but it can be intimidating and a little too labor intensive (if you're sleep-deprived or hung over, for example). Both microwave and stove-top risottos become rich and creamy because of the high starch content of the rice used; since the starch washes off of the rice and thickens the liquid into a sauce as the dish cooks. While slow additions of stock and constant stirring yield a dish that's comforting and filling, sometimes faster meals are a better option.

One of my all-time favorite teachers shared this recipe with my calculus class during my senior year of high school, and it rescued me from suffering through many tummy-grumbling all-nighters in college - thank you, Mr. Barrett!

Step 1: You'll Need. . .

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter (use vegan butter substitute to make it vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or squished into a paste
  • 1 small/medium onion, chopped (I like sweet onions, but you can use shallots whatever strikes your fancy)
  • 1 1/2 cups broth or stock (I'm using veggie stock, but you can use chicken or whatever type you prefer)1
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (usually near the standard rice in grocery stores - it tends to be a little more expensive but it makes a huge difference in the dish)
  • 3/4 cup white wine (you can substitute water if you're concerned about using booze)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (if you'd like to make it vegan, you can omit the cheese but if you do use it, please don't use the pre-grated stuff)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mushrooms, peas, herbs (optional - whatever you'd like to add will probably taste great)

  • A large-ish microwave-safe bowl
  • Spoon
  • Microwave
  • Measuring cup
  • Knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • Oven mitt

1You can use canned/store-bought broth or stock if you'd like. I prefer to make a huge batch of stock from veggie trimmings and freeze it in ice cube trays - if you go this route you'll need 12 cubes (2 cubes = 1/4 cup)

Step 2: Onions and Garlic

  1. Chop the onion and smash up or mince the garlic
  2. If you're using frozen cubes of stock, thaw them out
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, olive oil, garlic, and onion
  4. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes (If you'd like to include mushrooms/squash/other veggies that require a little more cook time, toss them in at this point as well)

Step 3: Ricey Goodness

  1. Add the Arborio rice into the onion and butter mixture, stir, and microwave for 35 seconds to warm the grains just a tiny bit
  2. Stir in the broth or stock, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for about 6 minutes (make sure to use oven mitts - the bowl will be hot)
  3. Remove the plastic wrap and stir in the wine

Step 4: Finishing Touches

  1. Microwave on high for about 8 minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked into the rice (make sure to use oven mitts, the bowl will be really hot)
  2. Stir in the cheese (and peas or other quick-cooking veggies if using)
  3. Season with salt and pepper as needed
  4. Enjoy!