Risotto rules: how to cook the perfect risotto | Sainsbury`s Magazine (2024)

Everyone loves a creamy and comforting bowl of risotto. Follow our 8 top tipsto cooking the perfect risotto, whatever the occasion...

1. Choose the right rice

There are different types of traditional risotto rice. Carnaroli, often referred to at the ‘king’ of risotto rice, holds its shape best and produces a creamy result. Arborio is slightly smaller and will produce a soft, comforting risotto, though it’s more prone to overcooking.

2. ...and the right amount

As a general rule, 60g per person is perfect for a starter, light meal, or if you’ve bulked out the dish with other ingredients. For more generous portions, go with 75g each.

3. Use hot stock

Whatever type of risotto you’re making, use piping hot stock – it means the grains will start to soften and cook straight away. It’s a good idea to keep your stock in a covered pan over a very low heat on the back of the hob while the risotto cooks.

4. Measure your stock

Ladle sizes vary, so aim to add enough stock to just cover the rice with each addition, so the grains can cook evenly (about 1 large ladle, or 2 smaller ones). Make sure all the rice is just covered as you don’t want to leave uncooked grains at the top of your pan.

Risotto rules: how to cook the perfect risotto | Sainsbury`s Magazine (1)

Image: Tara Fisher

5. Add your stock little and often

Make sure you stir your risotto occasionally, every few minutes or so, to help bring out the starch and produce a creamy result. Stirring too often will cool the mix and prevent the rice from cooking properly. Don’t stir enough and the grains will stick to the pan and cook unevenly.

6. Let it rest

Always let your risotto rest, loosely covered, for about 5 minutes, so it settles. By doing this, it won’t thicken up again (through evaporation) as it’s being served, and won’t be too hot to eat.

7. Leave a little bite

With all risottos you’re looking for the rice to be just, as the Italians say, ‘al dente’, which literally translates as ‘to the tooth’. This means it’s soft and cooked through with just a small amount of bite.

8. Consistency is key

The finished risotto should have a loose texture that settles after it’s stirred, so add a splash more stock (or water) if it seems dry, or cook for a few minutes more if it’s too wet.

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Risotto rules: how to cook the perfect risotto | Sainsbury`s Magazine (2024)


What is the trick to making good risotto? ›

Always use warm stock.

Warming the broth before adding it to the warm rice coaxes more starch out of each grain of rice and helps prevent it from overcooking. Cool broth takes longer to warm up in the risotto pan and may shock the grain into holding onto its starches while the rice itself continues to cook.

What is the secret to creamy risotto? ›

Never wash your rice beforehand as this removes the starch, which is what helps give risotto its smooth texture. Cook your risotto on a low, simmering heat and add the stock gradually, one ladle at a time. This gives the rice time to fully absorb the liquid and flavours. Rushing your risotto will only ruin its texture.

What is Gordon Ramsay's recipe for risotto? ›

  1. 1 large shallot, chopped finely.
  2. 4 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced.
  4. 10 ounces arborio rice.
  5. 12 cup dry white wine.
  6. 4 cups low sodium chicken broth.
  7. 8 ounces plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely chopped.
  8. 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped.

How should risotto be cooked? ›

One of the most surefire ways to ruin risotto is by overcooking it. Like pasta, the rice should be al dente—just cooked with a little bite to it. If you can mold your risotto into a shape, you've cooked it too long. When cooking risotto on a stove top, taste it periodically to test its doneness.

What is the secret ingredient in risotto? ›

Use Salted Water Instead of Broth in Risotto

It's an ingenious tip on many levels.

Is it better to make risotto with butter or olive oil? ›

According to Salvatore, it all depends on the ingredients. The chef prefers oil over butter (and oil works particularly well with seafood risottos), but butter is better for vegetable-based dishes like Rampoldi's black truffle with mushroom or mixed vegetable and ginger risotto.

What are the 4 stages of cooking risotto? ›

This classic Italian recipe is characterized by four main steps—tostatura, sfumatura, cottura and mantecatura—in which the rice is toasted, the wine is added, the rice is patiently stirred, and finally, the dish is finished with butter and cheese.

How does Hell's Kitchen cook risotto so quickly? ›

"Boil salted water, throw in the rice, boil it for nine minutes, strain it and throw it on a sheet pan. It's 90% cooked, so all you're doing is just picking it up. Once it's blanched, I can make risotto, from beginning to end, in three minutes."

Do you stir risotto constantly? ›

Don't stir the risotto pot (too much)

Stirring a risotto is the best way to get that signature creaminess, but according to Bon Appétit, over-stirring can also incorporate too much air and too much friction into the risotto, resulting in too much starch activation and a gluey consistency.

What are the rules when preparing risotto? ›

Risotto rules: how to cook the perfect risotto
  1. Choose the right rice. There are different types of traditional risotto rice. ...
  2. 2. ... and the right amount. ...
  3. Use hot stock. ...
  4. Measure your stock. ...
  5. Add your stock little and often. ...
  6. Let it rest. ...
  7. Leave a little bite. ...
  8. Consistency is key.

Do you cook risotto covered or uncovered? ›

Because risotto is cooked uncovered on the stovetop, a lot of liquid evaporates. Plan on about three times as much liquid as rice. And that liquid should be stock of some sort. Chicken stock is the staple, but use whatever stock you prefer — beef, vegetable, seafood.

What is most important when making risotto rice or technique? ›

The factors that determine success are just two, namely the proper type of rice, and a rich and tasty broth. Cooking those two together by applying some simple techniques is all you need for getting a great risotto.

What can I add to risotto to make it taste better? ›

Here are seven great additions to try.
  1. Roasted Shrimp. Not only does a pile of roasted shrimp add a touch of fanciness to risotto, but it's also the ultimate last-minute addition, since it takes no more than a few minutes to cook. ...
  2. Beans. ...
  3. Crispy Chicken Thighs. ...
  4. Cooked Sausage. ...
  5. Fried or Poached Eggs. ...
  6. Ricotta. ...
  7. Seared Scallops.

How do restaurants get risotto so fast? ›

In his post, López-Alt writes that the speediness of restaurant risotto boils down to the fact that chefs “par-cook it to around 75 per cent done then cool it rapidly by spreading it in a thin layer on a sheet tray and refrigerating it”.

What are the principles of making risotto? ›

The basic principle of risotto is to beat the hell out of a rice kernel so that it releases as much starch as possible without overcooking. The more you stir, the more starch is released; the creamier the risotto. It is that simple!

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