Basic risotto

This is the basic recipe for risotto, through this recipe one can truly appreciate and understand how short grain rice, when cooked using the right technique, becomes a marvel of texture and viscosity. To this basic recipe any flavoring can be added, giving the risotto has a new personality each time.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine, dry
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a heavy, wide 3- to 4-quart casserole or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots and cook them until golden, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Toast the rice until the edges become translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the wine and stir well until evaporated.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed.
  5. Continue to add hot stock in small batches- just enough to completely moisten the rice- and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed. Stir constantly and adjust the level of heat so the rice is simmering very gently while adding the stock until the rice mixture is creamy but al dente. This will take from 16 to 20 minutes from the time the wine was added.
  6. Remove the casserole from the heat. Beat in the butter until completely melted, then half of the grated cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and pepper.
  7. Top each serving with some of the remaining grated cheese; serve immediately, ladled into warm shallow bowls.

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