Risotto Recipes, How to Make
Risotto and the History behind this Rice Dish
Risotto recipes are not
just found in Northern
where they first originated, but also in
the south, where they are just as popular.
However, where arborio rice
is grown, rice dishes
have become an important part in the cuisine of northern Italy, and
saffron one of the essential ingredients for risotto alla Milanese.
Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice. It is named after the
town of Arborio in the Po Valley, Lombardy
where it is grown.
In fact, Italy produces more rice and a greater variety of rice than
anywhere else in Europe.
Milanese chefs prefer to use Carnaroli rice for their risotto recipes,
nano is the variety normally used in risotto recipes in the Veneto area.
The famous Milanese risotto gets its golden color from the precious
saffron, which is still an expensive luxury today, coming from the
stamens of the saffron crocus flowers which are harvested every
mid-autumn from the Kishmiri mountains, although saffron is also grown
in around the Mediterranean and Iran.
The History of Risotto
The arrival of rice in
Italy was introduced by the Arabs during their invasion of Sicily,
along with oranges, lemons, sugar cane and pistachio nuts. However,
some historians claim that saffron first made its appearance in the
13th century, though it is not known how, or by what route.
There is a lovely little
story, urban legend perhaps, of a young apprentice called Valerius, who
is supposed to have invented the yellow risotto
that Milan is so famous for.
The story goes that while he was
working on the stain-glass window for the Cathedral Duomo in Milan in
1574 the towns' people made fun of him, accrediting saffron
to his work, instead of himself. He was incensed, and decided to take
revenge. It came when his master got married. Valerius decided to
overdose the rice with saffron which was going to be served as the main
dish at the wedding feast. However, his retribution plans backfired as
the guests were enthralled, and so the yellow risotto recipe of Milan
What is known, is that Pope Celestine IV, a native of Milan
and whose papacy only lasted from 28th October - 10 November 1241 often
used saffron which was sent to him from Abruzzi, and used by him not
only for cooking, but to mix with rose petals, lavender and lilies
which were used to scent his daily bath.
Well, now that you know the history of risotto, you may appreciate
eating it more once you make our delicious risotto recipes.
How to Make Risotto?
Risotto was first invented in Milan in the 16th century. Since then,
risotto has been made in Italian kithens from north to south, and
throughout the world. A good risotto can only be made from a
All risottos are made in the same way, although they can be flavored
with an endless variety of ingredients. The rice is first coated in
butter, and then liquid is added to the rice in for form of simmering
stock , one ladleful at time waiting for the liquid to be absorbed in
between adding the stock. The rice is stirred over a low heat.
The risotto is cooked like this, adding more stock, and stirring it in
waiting for it to be absorbed for 20 minutes until the risotto is
tender and creamy.
The final stage in making risotto is when it is cooked, taken off the
heat, and a knob of butter or a couple of spoons of olive oil
is added along with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This is
stirred into the risotto that adds to the creaminess of the rice. This
last stage in making risotto is called mantecatura
Left-over risotto of any kind can be used the following day by rolling
them into balls, coating them breadcrumbs and then deep frying them.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO WITH MEAT SAUCE
(Risotto con Ragu)
5-6 cups chicken stock (approximately)
1 tablespoon oil
2 oz butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups short grained rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Place the stock in a
saucepan and bring to a simmering point. Heat the oil and
half the butter in a heavy based pan, add the onions and fry gently
until soft and golden. Add the rice and cook until translucent. Add
stock a ladleful at a time.
Wait until rice has absorbed all the liquid
before adding any more. Cook until rice is tender and creamy. About 25
Stir in the remaining butter and cheese. Add salt and pepper
to taste. Serve meat sauce on the side.
RISOTTO RECIPES - PEASANT STYLE RISOTTO
(Risotto alla Paesana)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
4 oz zucchini, thinly sliced
4 oz shelled peas or broad beans
2 cups short grained rice
5-6 cups chicken stock (approximately)
1 oz butter
4 oz cooked ham, cut into strips
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
seasoning to taste
Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan, add the onion and celery and fry
over a low heat for 3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, peas or beans and
cook gently for 5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook for a further minute
or two until the rice is translucent. Add the stock one ladleful at a
time, waiting for the liquid to be totally absorbed before adding the
Continue cooking the rice until it is cooked - about 25
minutes. Consistency should be creamy. Stir in the butter and the
cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO MILANESE
(Risotto alla Milanese)
Melt a small piece of butter
in a saucepan.
Brown in the butter a medium sized onion, cut in thin slices. When the
onion is browned, take it
away from the saucepan and add little by little the rice, stirring it
Every time that the rice becomes dry, add some hot broth
(or hot water) until the rice is completely cooked. Add salt
and pepper and a little saffron, if you like it.
When the rice is almost
cooked, add to it some brown stock. Dress with
Parmesan cheese and some butter. Mix well and serve hot.
This dish must
not be allowed to be overcooked or cooled before eating.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO WITH CHICKEN GIBLETS
(Risotto alla Milanese II)
The broth for this risotto may be made by cooking together
the giblets, neck and tips of wings of a chicken which should be
roasted first, or
it can be made from the left-overs of a roast chicken.
Boil the rice until it
is about half done in salted water. Then let the water cook away and
begin adding the broth, in such quantities that the
rice will be nearly dry when it is tender.
Fry one chopped onion in the
oil or fat. Some mushrooms cut up small are a very good addition to
"Soffritto". Mince the chicken giblets and add to
the onion. Stir the
mixture into the rice.
Add grated cheese and a beaten egg just as the
rice is taken off the heat.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO WITH PEAS
(Risotto con Piselli)
Wash and dry 1½ lb. rice; chop fine one medium sized onion and put it
on the stove with a small quantity of butter.
When the onion is well
browned, add the rice little by little, stirring
with a wooden spoon. Add some boiling water one cup at a time. Drain
the peas previously prepared (fresh or canned peas may be used) and add
them toward the end of the cooking.
When the whole is almost
add some salt and take it away from the water almost dry. Add some
stir and serve hot.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RICE AND PEAS
(Risi e Bisi)
1/2 cup of rice
Grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
1 small onion
the onion up fine and put it into the saucepan with one-half the butter
Cook until the onion is brown, then pour on the rice
(raw) and fry until the rice is dry.
Then add hot water, a ladleful at
a time, taking care not to let the rice boil too hard, as it
will then become hard in the middle and floury around the edges.
When the rice is cooked, remove from heat and
the rest of the butter. Before taking off the heat add a little grated
Parmesan cheese and the peas, which have been prepared as follows:
Take a small piece of ham fat, one-half small onion, and some parsley.
together fine, add three tablespoons of olive-oil, salt and pepper, and
put into a saucepan over a medium heat.
When the onion is colored add one can of green peas (or fresh peas,
according to season).
When the peas have absorbed all the olive-oil add a sufficient quantity
of broth to cover them (or water) and cook until peas are soft. Then
mix the peas with the rice, add one tablespoon of Parmesan cheese,
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO WITH LOBSTER
(Risotto con Gamberi)
For this risotto either
or crab meat can be used: the former is,
however, considered more tasty.
The lobster or crab meat
ought to be about half the weight of the rice used. A little more than
of rice and half this weight
of crab meat ought to be enough for six
Chop fine a sprig of
parsley, a stalk of celery, one carrot, half an
onion a clove of garlic and brown the whole lot in good olive
browned, add the crab meat and season with salt and pepper.
cooking process stir and turn over the crabs, and when they have become
red, pour over as much hot water as is necessary to cook the rice.
After the water boils for
a while, remove the lobster (or crab, or
crayfish) leaving the saucepan on a medium heat.
Put half of the crabs
aside, and grind the rest of the meat. Rub the ground meat through the
sieve and put it back on the cooker.
In another saucepan melt
some butter and put into
it little by little the rice that has been washed and dried. Stir and
add the broth from the first saucepan.
When the rice is almost
add the crayfish that you have put aside, or rather its meat extracted
from the shells, remove from the heat and pour over it the fish
mixture, adding some grated cheese. Beat well.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RICE WITH SAFFRON
(Riso alla Milanese con
Wash and dry the rice and
put it in boiling broth (beef or chicken
broth). When the rice is half cooked add half its weight of marrow of
beef bone, cut into small pieces. A few minutes
are sufficient for the cooking of the marrow. Add grated cheese and
remove the pot from the cooker.
Dissolve some saffron in
one or two tablespoonfuls of broth; sift it
through a sieve and mix with rice, which is to be served very hot, and
makes an excellent soup.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RED WINE RISOTTO
(Risotto al Barolo)
6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely
2 cups short-grained rice
1 cup red wine (Barolo)
About 4 cups of beef stock
3 cups Parmesan cheese,
seasoning to taste
truffles to taste
Heat half the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and fry onion until
translucent and golden. Add the rice and stir gently until translucent.
Pour the wine into the pan and allow to come to the boil.
Gradually add the pre-heated stock ladle by ladle.
rice to simmer gently over a low heat until all the liquid has been
absorbed. Stir in the remaining butter and cheese.
Season to taste and add shaved truffles.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RICE "ALLA ROMANA"
(Risotto alla Romana)
small piece of ham fat
1 stalk of celery
2 mushrooms canned, or 1 fresh mushroom
1/3 pound of lean beef
these ingredients together and put them into a large saucepan
with a small piece of butter. Cook until the meat is well browned.
Then add one tablespoon of red or white wine.
Cook for a few minutes,
then add one tablespoon of tomato paste dissolved in a little hot
water, or two and one-half tablespoons of the other tomato sauce. Cook
well, adding from time to time a little water�€”one-half cup in
the rice (a little less than a cupful), add it to the other
ingredients in the saucepan, and cook for about twenty minutes, until
the rice is soft, adding more water from time to time.
Then add two
tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, mix well, and serve, with more
cheese if desired.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO "ALLA NOSTRALE"
Take a small piece of onion, slice into small bits, and put into a
saucepan with two tablespoons of butter. Cook until onion is browned.
one-half cup of arborio rice. Put it into the saucepan with the
onion, add salt and pepper, and fry until the rice is dry.
one and one-half tablespoons of tomato paste, thinned with hot water
(or two tablespoons of other tomato sauce), and add to the rice.
Little by little add hot water until the rice is cooked through (about
one cup of hot water).
Then add grated cheese,
Parmesan or Gruyere,
one and one-half tablespoons of butter, and mix well over the fire,
This rice can be served alone or with
fried sausages, or with cold
chicken, or any left-over meat prepared in the following manner:
one and one-half tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Cut the
cold meat into slices, and add them to the butter. Fry well, then take
one and one-half tablespoons of tomato paste, thinned in water (or
three tablespoons tomato sauce). Add to the meat a little at a
Simmer for one-half hour,
then put into the middle of hot platter,
surrounded by rice, and pour this sauce over all. Add a handful of
grated Parmesan cheese to the rice.
This preparation of meat can be served
with macaroni or corn-meal
instead of the rice.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RICE WITH BUTTER AND CHEESE
(Riso in Bianco)
Take one-half cup of
rice. Boil in salted water. After twenty minutes
of boiling take off the fire and drain. Then put the rice back into a
saucepan with three tablespoons of grated cheese (Parmesan) and three
tablespoons of butter.
Mix well and serve as an entree, or around a
plate of meat.
Boil a cup of
rice soft in hot water. Shake it now and then, but do not stir it.
Drain it, add a little milk in which a beaten egg has been mixed, one
teaspoon of butter, and a little pepper and salt.
Simmer for five minutes, and if the rice has not absorbed all the milk,
drain it again.
Put the rice around a dish, smooth it into a wall, wash it over with
yolk of a beaten egg, and put it into the oven until firm.
Take the strained juice and pulp of seven or eight tomatoes, season
pepper, a little salt and sugar, and one-half of a chopped-up onion;
stew for twenty minutes, then stir in one tablespoon of butter and two
tablespoons of fine bread crumbs.
Stew three or four minutes to thicken, and then pour the
tomatoes into the dish, in the middle of the rice, and serve.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RICE
WITH HAM RECIPE
into small pieces one ounce of raw ham, fat and lean. Chop up fine a
small piece of onion, and put it with the ham into a frying-pan with
one-half a tablespoon of butter. Fry slowly until the ham and onions
Then add one-half cup of uncooked rice; when it has cooked for a few
add twice its height of bouillon (or water), salt and pepper, a dash of
nutmeg, and mix well and allow it to boil for twenty minutes over a
Then take off the stove, add two tablespoons of butter and two
tablespoons of Parmesan cheese grated; mix well and serve.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RICE WITH MUSHROOMS AND SPINACH
6 brown mushrooms
3/4 of a cup of rice
1 small bunch of spinach, sliced
Chop up a little onion, parsley, celery, and carrot together, and put
on the cooker with two tablespoons of good olive-oil.
When this sauce has colored, add two tablespoons of tomato paste,
thinned with hot water
(or a corresponding quantity of tomato sauce).
Season with salt and pepper. Cut the mushrooms into small pieces, and
add them to the sauce. Cook for twenty minutes over a medium heat. Put
on one side and prepare the rice as follows:
Fry the rice with a lump of butter until dry; then add hot water, a
at a time, and boil gently. When the rice is half cooked (after about
ten minutes) add the mushrooms, and sauce, and cook for another ten
minutes. Add spinach in the last minute. Add grated Parmesan cheese
RISOTTO RECIPES - ITALIAN RISOTTO
Fry a small onion slightly in butter, then add half a pint of very good
stock. Boil four ounces of rice, but do not let it get pulpy, add it
to the above with three medium-sized tomatoes in a puree. Mix it all
up well, add more stock, and two tablespoonsful of grated Parmesan and
Cheddar mixed, and serve hot.
RISOTTO RECIPES - GENOVA RISOTTO
alla Genovese) Ingredients: Rice, beef or veal, onions,
parsley, butter, stock,
Parmesan, sweetbread or sheep's brains.
Cut up a small onion and
fry it slightly in butter with some chopped
parsley, add to this a little veal, also chopped up, and a little suet.
Cook for ten minutes and then add two ounces of rice to it.
with a wooden spoon, and after a few minutes begin to add boiling stock
gradually; stir with the spoon, so that the rice whilst cooking may
absorb the stock; when it is half cooked add a few spoonfuls of good
gravy and a sweetbread or sheep's brains (previously scalded and cut up
in pieces), and, if you like, a little powdered saffron dissolved in
a spoonful of stock and three tablespoonsful of grated Parmesan and
Stir well until the rice
is quite cooked, but take care
not to get it into a pulp.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO WITH HAM AND TOMATOES
Rice, pork, ham, onions, tomatoes, butter, stock,
Put a small bit of onion
and an ounce of butter into a saucepan, add
half a pound of tomatoes cut up and fry for a few minutes. Then put in
some bits of loin of pork cut into dice and some bits of lean
After a time add four
ounces of rice and good stock, and as soon as it begins
to boil put on the lid and put the saucepan on a moderate
the rice is half cooked add any sort of vegetable, by preference peas,
asparagus cut up, beans, and cucumber cut up, cook for another quarter
of an hour, and serve with grated Parmesan and Cheddar mixed.
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO WITH TRUFFLES AND EGGS
eggs, truffles, smoked tongue, butter.
Make a good risotto, and
when cooked put it into a fireproof dish. When
cold cut into shapes with a ramekin mold and fry for a few minutes in
butter, then turn the ramekins out, scoop out a little of
each and fill
it with eggs beaten up, cover each with a slice of truffle and garnish
with a little chopped tongue. Put them into a moderate oven for ten
RISOTTO RECIPES - RISOTTO WITH GAME
alla Parigina) Ingredients: Risotto, game, sauce,
Make a good risotto, and when cooked pour it into a fireproof
it get cold, and then form it
into little balls about the size of a pigeon's egg. Fry these in butter
and serve with a rich game sauce poured over them.
Risotto Recipes -Tips on How to Cook Risotto
- Do not wash your rice beforehand. It is the starch in the
rice that allows this dish to be successful.
- Pre-cook your rice by frying it over a low heat in butter
first. This cooks the outer layers of the starch granules and adds to
the quality and flavor of your risotto.
- Only add hot stock to your rice. Adding cold stock will
make it gluggy.
- Only add one ladle at a time and wait for the rice to
absorb all the liquid before adding another.
- When you remove the risotto from the heat beat in extra
butter or the cheese to give it the rich, creamy texture you expect
- Good risotto is when it is so thick that you can stand a
spoon in it!
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