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Parmesan Risotto

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Parmesan Risotto

This is risotto at its simplest.  It can accompany a variety of meals, from grilled or braised cuts to a mélange of roasted vegetables.  Parmesan risotto is also appropriate as a first course.  Don’t fret if you have broth left over once the rice is finished cooking; different brands of rice all cook differently, and I prefer to err on the side of slightly too much broth rather than too little.  If you do use all the broth and the rice has not finished cooking, add hot water.

For details on my techniques for making risotto, please click HERE.

Serves 6


  •  3-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • Salt
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1 cup)
  • Ground black pepper


1) Bring the broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to keep the broth warm.

2) Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Once the foaming subsides, add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft and translucent, about 9 minutes.  Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the edges of the grains are transparent, about 4 minutes.  Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is completely absorbed by the rice, about 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups of the warm broth and, stirring infrequently (about every 3 minutes), simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the bottom of the pan is dry, 10 to 12 minutes.

3) Add more of the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, as needed, to keep the pan bottom from becoming dry (every 3 to 4 minutes); cook, stirring frequently, until the grains of rice are cooked through but still somewhat firm in the center, 10 to 12 minutes.  Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately in warmed shallow bowl.


 Saffron Risotto

Also known as risotto alla Milanese in honor of the city of Milan, saffron is one of the simplest and best variations on basic risotto.  While this risotto is the traditional accompaniment to Osso Buco, it is just as good on its own or with roast pork, veal, or poultry.

Follow the recipe for Parmesan Risotto.  In step 2, just after you add the rice to the pot, crumble 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads over the rice.  Proceed as directed.

Asparagus Risotto with Lemon and Mint 

 The flavors in this dish are light, making it a suitable accompaniment to broiled or poached salmon or a simple roast chicken.  It it essential to use thin asparagus for this recipe, so that it cooks through by the time the rice is done.

Snap the though ends off 1 pound thin asparagus.  Cut the spears on the bias into 1/2-inch lengths.  Follow the recipe for Parmesan Risotto through step 2.  In step 3, add the broth to the rice and stir as directed.  After 5 minutes, stir in the asparagus and continue as directed.  When adding the Parmesan to the rice, stir in 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves.  Accompany each serving of risotto with a lemon wedge.


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