I wonder how many people Gordon Ramsey’s frantic screaming has scared off from attempting to figure out how to make risotto.
If risotto is on the menu when I’m out somewhere, the odds are that I’m going to order it. I love the creaminess of it, how rich and comforting it is.
But I was scared to make it. It must be hard, right?
Then I figured that I might as well try it. If it was a disaster, we could order pizza. I like an excuse to order pizza.
And what I found is that it’s actually pretty easy to make risotto. It’s not a super quick dish: it takes about 30-45 minutes and you do actually have to pay attention pretty much the entire time. There’s a whole lot of stirring involved, but it’s not complicated.
I’ll walk you through how to make risotto. This is a very basic recipe, but once you give this one a shot, you can get fancier with other risotto recipes that you can find on Pinterest.
This risotto is a creamy leek risotto. Leeks give it a little bit of flavor but not so strong that picky kids won’t eat it. My middle son won’t touch anything with onions in it, but he’ll eat this. And it’s so creamy, you’d think there’s a ton of cheese, but there’s only a little bit. I’ll take you step by step through the recipe, but you can find the directions at the bottom of this post without all my commentary, as well.
The first thing you need to do is to chop and wash your leeks. You need about 4 cups of them, which is about 1 leek.
In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of chicken broth to a simmer. Keep it on low the entire time you are cooking your risotto.
In a large pot (you can use any large pot you have on hand, a dutch oven… I use a large stock pot because that’s what I have), melt two tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add leeks and 2 minced garlic cloves. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until leeks are cooked through. Stir occasionally(just occasionally- save your stirring strength!). This is a good time to grate a half cup of romano if you haven’t yet.
Add in 2 cups of Arborio rice(find it where you find any other variety of rice in the store- yes, I was this clueless about risotto that I didn’t know where to look) and immediately add 2/3 cup of white wine(I used Pinot Grigio because I like the slightly sweeter taste, but white cooking wine is just fine) and stir.
Stir until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. I’ve seen directions that specify you need a wooden spoon to do your stirring. I’ve used a big serving spoon and it worked just fine. It’s a little more comfortable to use the wooden spoon because it’s a lot of stirring and the wood won’t get hot the same way the metal spoon will. But if you’re stirring, your type of spoon really won’t matter.
Turn heat down to medium low and add about 3/4 cup of the warm chicken stock to your rice. Stir frequently, until the liquid is absorbed. With this first cup, it will only take about 3 minutes or so.
Whenever it’s absorbed, add another 3/4 cup of the liquid and repeat. It will take a little longer for the liquid to get absorbed as you add more. Don’t worry about being precise in how much you add at a time: 3/4 cup to 1 cup is fine. Add liquid, stir until absorbed, add more and stir.
For the first cup or two of chicken broth, you might think that this recipe isn’t going to make very much and that maybe you should have doubled it. But it will expand and this recipe feeds my family of five with a little left over.
It will take about 25-30 minutes to go through adding the liquid and cooking the rice. Many, many times when I was cooking it, I thought that it would never actually be done. I’d try to sample it and the texture does NOT taste right until the last few minutes, when finally, you get that nice done texture. So, don’t be discouraged.
Once your rice is tender, along with your last portion of chicken broth, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 cup grated romano cheese and stir(STIR- yes, your arm is tired by now).
Add some salt and pepper to taste(I added 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper).
If desired, you can top with bacon or pancetta. I topped ours with prosciutto because that doesn’t require any additional cooking and since I already put a lot of effort into the risotto, I take the easy way out. One of my boys eats this without any topping and it’s great that way, too.
How to Make Risotto
- 4 cups chopped leeks (about 1 leek)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 2/3 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup grated romano
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Chop and wash your leeks.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of chicken broth to a simmer. Keep it on low the entire time you are cooking your risotto.
- In a large pot, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add leeks and garlic and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until leeks are cooked through. Stir occasionally.
- Add in Arborio rice, immediately add white wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
- Turn heat down to medium low and add about 3/4 cup of the warm chicken broth to your rice. Stir frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, about 3-4 minutes.
- Continue adding about 3/4- 1 cup of broth to the rice and stir until absorbed, repeating until you are down to your last portion of broth.
- Along with your last portion of broth, add lemon juice and cheese and stir until absorbed. Rice should be tender. It will take about 25-30 minutes from the time you add the first portion of broth until it is finished.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- If desired, top with bacon, pancetta, or proscuitto.