Introduction: Simple Risotto

About: I'm a 49 year old Systems Architect living in the Midwestern United States. After travelling the world for 20 years as a consulting architect I became disabled, as a result, I am now embracing a Slow life. F…

If you have never made risotto before, this is an excellent first-timer one. Simple, rustic, and tasty, it is sure to please as a side dish or a light main course.


  • 1 cup Principato Di Lucedio Carnaroli Rice
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I recommend an inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4 cloves garlic (pressed)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger (fresh or 1/2 tbsp ground)
  • 1 red onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 small carrot (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 dozen fresh shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped*

*The mushrooms are optional. We cooked ours on the side with olive oil and balsamic vinegar since our girls are huge fans of mushrooms

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Step 1: The First Secret to Great Risotto

The first secret to great risotto is to use hot broth. Pour the broth into a pot over medium heat. Heat a heavy skillet to medium low/medium heat and add olive oil. I use regular olive oil instead of extra virgin because it has a high smoke point and is therefore better for sautéing. Save the expensive extra virgin stuff for salads.

Step 2: Sauté, Sauté, Sauté...

Once the oil in the skillet is hot, add the onions and sauté for about 2 mins, or until just starting to get translucent. Then add the garlic*, ginger, carrots, and mushrooms (if you want mushrooms). It is at this stage that our teenage girls usually start freaking out. Apparently, mushrooms, in the minds of teenagers, impart some sort of bizarre contamination to the dish if you mix them in and request they pick them out. Sauté this mixture for about 2 more minutes. Finally, add the rice and stir to coat evenly with oil.

*Do yourself a favor, get a good, sturdy garlic press. It is a huge time saver because you don't have to peel the garlic in order to press it. I know it sounds crazy, and I had to be convinced by demonstration, but I assure you, it works.

Step 3: Time for the Broth...and the Second Secret to Great Risotto

Once the rice is coated with oil, add the wine and allow to simmer for 3 mins. Start adding the broth one or two ladle fulls at a time. Start stirring, stir some more. Keeping stirring. This is the second secret to great risotto. By continually stirring, you ensure that the rice cooks evening, absorbs the broth evenly, and doesn't scorch. If you notice the rice is sticking, your skillet is too hot. Turn down the heat so the broth bubbles in the pan. Keep adding stock by the ladle-full and stirring until it is absorbed. Once the last ladle-full goes in, keep stirring until the risotto is done. How do you know it is done?

Step 4: The Final Secret to Great Risotto

The final secret to great risotto is how to tell when it is done. As you added broth, the risotto should have become increasingly creaming and thicker. When you can slide a spoon from one side of the skillet to the other and the risotto slowly fills the gap, and the rice is tender, your risotto is done.

Serve and enjoy! We served ours topped with fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic mushrooms, and a mozzarella, prosciutto, and basic roll.