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Risotto – Core Recipe

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The ultimate creamy, buttery, comfort food. Delicious on its own, a perfect accompaniment with a salad, grilled meats, fish or even a casserole. A wonderful base dish ideally suited to adding further ingredients to make a range of delicious risottos. There are many different risotto recipes, many classic Italian dishes but also a range of new ideas around on the web. With a little imagination you will be able to create your own favourites using this recipe as your base.

Typically a risotto is made on the stove. After sautéing some onion and garlic, you add the rice, coat in the butter (or oil) you fried the onion in, add some wine and reduce. You then slowly add hot stock, stirring continuously. As one ladleful is absorbed, you add another ladleful. You continue to do this, whilst stirring, until the stock has been absorbed, the rice has cooked and you achieve the consistency you like. The stirring is very important as this helps to release the starch on the rice and this in turn will give you a much creamier risotto. Safe to say this is an important part of the process.

However, standing by the stove for 20 minutes continuously stirring anything is not my idea of fun or a good use of time. I always cook my risotto in the oven, giving me plenty of time to prepare a salad and/or vegetables or even make a quick pudding and lay the table. Follow my instructions below and you will have creamy risotto on the table with only 10 minutes prep time, less than 5 minutes stirring, 15 – 20 minutes in the oven and 2 -3 minutes resting out of the oven before you serve. Definitely time for a glass of wine whilst you wait!

Look at that cheeky Welsh girl from times gone by, on the tea towel covering the hot handle of the pan. I didn’t wrap it like that deliberately but it made me laugh when I noticed!

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How to make Risotto – Core Recipe

Collect all your ingredients together:

  • unsalted butter
  • olive oil
  • banana shallots or onion
  • garlic
  • Arborio rice 
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • dry white wine
  • good quality vegetable, fish or chicken stock 
  • fresh herbs such a a bay leaf and/or a sprig of thyme or rosemary
  • fresh cream
  • parmesan cheese

Make the risotto:

  1. melt the butter and olive oil over a medium high heat
  2. cook the shallots/onions until translucent and very slightly caramelised – around 5 minutes
  3. add the garlic to the onions (also shown here is shredded sage from my Chicken and Sage Risotto with Prosciutto) and cook for a further minute
  4. next add the rice and seasoning. Stir well ensuring all the rice grains are covered in the butter/oil
  5. pour in the wine and continue to cook to reduce the wine. Stir continuously as it reduces until it has almost disappeared
  6. pour in all bar 200ml of the stock
  7. bring to a simmer stirring continuously and enthusiastically
  8. as soon as it comes to the boil, add the bayleaf or thyme, cover and pop into a preheated over for 10 minutes
  9. after 10 minutes take it out of the oven and stir well
  10. add the cheese, butter and cream and stir again to incorporate. Add some or all of the remaining stock if necessary
  11. if adding more stock, make sure it is hot, if not, bring the risotto back to the boil before putting back in the oven
  12. taste and adjust seasoning – it may need a little more salt. Cover again and put back in the oven for a further 5 – 10 minutes. Remove, cover and leave to sit for 2 – 3 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Risottos continue to cook after you take them out of the oven, if you leave it for too long you may find your perfectly cooked risotto has become overcooked. If you find that too much liquid has been absorbed while you wait, simply add a drop more hot stock or cream to achieve the consistency you desire.

So what is perfectly cooked?

To me, that is having the rice only very slightly al dente and the overall dish quite soft and saucy. My husband prefers the rice to be softer and less sauce! We’re both right! Make it as you like to eat it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! The timings I have given, give me a risotto I like, in my oven, in my pan and with the rice I buy. However, ovens vary and rice varies so you may find you want to cook yours for slightly more or less time. When you make the perfect risotto for you, make a note of your timings and when repeating it, remember to use the same or similar pan and buy the same rice. A large low sided pan will cook differently from a smaller taller pan. It sounds fiddly but I promise you it is not, just be a little patient and work out what works for you!

Made this recipe?

If you make this recipe, do please tag me on instagram @daffodil_kitchen. You could also leave a comment in the box directly below the recipe.

Risotto – Core Recipe

The ultimate creamy, buttery, comfort food. Delicious on its own, a perfect accompaniment with a salad, grilled meats, fish or even a casserole.

Course Lunch, Main Course, Starter, Supper
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Italian, rice, risotto
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Author Susan


Basic Risotto:

  • 40g unsalted butter

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil

  • 125g/2 banana shallots, peeled or 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 16g/4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 300g Arborio rice 

  • ¼ teaspoon salt (plus a further ⅛ – ¼ if desired.) 

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 250ml/1 cup dry white wine

  • 1 – 1.2 litres good quality vegetable, fish or chicken stock 

  • 1 bay leaf or a sprig or two of fresh thyme or rosemary

Optional (but recommended) add-ins:

  • 60g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

  • 60 – 90ml/4 – 6 tablespoons double cream

  • 20g unsalted butter 


  1. Collect together your equipment (see Recipe Notes below) and ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to Fan Oven 180°C/200°C/400°F/Gas 6

  3. Put the shallots/onion in a mini food processor and pulse until all are finely chopped. Alternatively you can finely chop them by hand.

  4. Melt the butter and olive oil in a medium sized casserole over a medium heat and add the shallots/onion. Cook for around 5 minutes until the onion is soft and slightly caramelised. 

  5. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute until aromatic.

  6. Add the rice and seasoning, stir well to coat all the grains in the butter/oil and then add the wine. Cook, stirring, until most of the wine has reduced.

  7. Add 1 litre of stock and the bay leaf or thyme/rosemary and bring to a simmer over a moderate heat, stirring continuously and enthusiastically.

  8. Cook the risotto, covered, in the oven for 10 minutes. 

  9. After 10 minutes, take it out of the oven, add the butter, Parmesan and cream and mix well. Check the stock and the seasoning, adding more stock, salt and pepper if necessary. Return to the oven, covered, for a further 5 – 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked to your liking.

  10. Cover and leave to sit for 2 – 3 minutes before serving. The risotto will continue to cook and thicken during this time; if you need to add any further stock to adjust the risotto, make sure it is hot when added.

  11. To serve: serve with your choice of accompaniments and some grated parmesan cheese on the side.

Recipe Notes


  • Medium oven proof cast iron casserole/Dutch oven
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Kitchen scales
  • Measuring spoons and measuring jug
  • Mini food processor, if using
  • Grater, if necessary

To serve:

  • Crisp green salad
  • Green vegetables such as roast/steamed broccoli or asparagus
  • Extra parmesan cheese
  • Fresh herbs
  • Garlic bread

Stock – the amount you use will depend on:

  • The type of rice you use
  • The stock
  • The other ingredients in the risotto
  • The real temperature of the oven
  • Your personal preference: i.e. how thick you like your risotto to be. There is no right and wrong answer!

Parmesan cheese is quite salty so it is possible that you will not need to add any extra salt. If you prefer your risotto without cheese, you will definitely need to add extra salt.

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