Enjoy the classic taste of Italy with this delicious creamy, cheesy and garlicky Parmesan Risotto, it can be made from scratch in less than an hour and really doesn't require much skill.
An army of tiny little morsels. Each grain on it's own appears just to be a close relation to your everyday rice - but oh, oh no. Tender and rich with the flavor of chicken stock and white wine, the deliberate cooking process develops such a creamy texture you'd swear there was loads of heavy cream. Nope. Just love....okay, and a few other ingredients.
Oh man, I forgot how much I loved this parmesan risotto. Maybe it was four years of constantly coming home from work smelling like risotto, pomodoro sauce, and focaccia bread that led me away from making this dish more often.
It was also the restaurant company where I started my career, so making a traditional Italian dish always brings about a sense of nostalgia. It's an appreciation for the cooking and flavors and combination of ingredients - using all the five senses to make a simple dish that makes you go, "Mmmm..."
Let's get cooking
Not only is this creamy parmesan risotto delicious, it's easy to make and incredibly versatile. No really, don't be intimidated. The key to making velvety, tender risotto without overcooking is just one trick - you cannot leave the stove while it's cooking.
Ok, maybe like a few steps and bathroom breaks. The slow addition of that chicken stock, one cup at a time, with the repetitive stirring of ingredients develops the starches and that creamy soft texture.
See the step-by-step food photos below for the different stages of risotto!
Another great thing about this parmesan risotto? It can be both a main dish and a side dish! Traditionally, risotto has been served before the main course but I love incorporating additional ingredients and serving it as the star of the show. Some recommendations:
- butternut squash
- dried cranberry & asparagus
- sweet peas & crimini mushrooms
- baby spinach & lemon
The list could go on and on....but I'll let that continue going in my head.
Ingredients and Substitutions
There are quite a few different types of risotto rice to choose from. I like to use Aborio rice because it cooks a bit quicker and still maintains it's texture without becoming overly gummy.
If you aren't able to use shallots, an onion can certainly be substituted. And of course, homemade chicken stock is a great option, but store bought is perfectly acceptable (and what I used, too - sometimes you just don't have time to make your own stock!)
If you don't like to cook with wine, you can simply add more chicken stock - or veg stock if you want to mix it up!
For the vegetarians out there, you can easily substitute the chicken stock for veg stock, and if you can find vegetarian Parmesan cheese then great, but if not, don't worry - you can use Marscapone cheese, it adds so much creaminess to the dish too!
I have been asked a few questions about this recipe so I hope this helps. If anyone else has questions, please leave a comment at the bottom and I will do my best to reply to everyone.
Simply cover and slide the risotto to the back of the stove, away from the heat, and leave it there if you plan to eat it within an hour.
If you want to make this risotto well in advance, follow the steps through incorporating the 4th cup of chicken stock. Remove from heat and spread into as thin a layer as possible in the pan it's in, cover and keep chilled. When ready to serve reheat the remaining stock and follow the remaining instructions.
Taste it!! Always my go to, it should taste al dente, with a slight 'bite' to it but if you prefer it softer, simply add an extra half cup to a cup of water!
Remember how I said it was important to add only a small amount of liquid at a time? If you add too much at once, the risotto struggles to absorb the liquid and it can end up a bit like a runny mess!
Absolutely! My favorite way to freeze risotto is in zip storage bags,
Check this out!
If you loved this Parmesan Risotto as much as me and would love to see more delicious risotto recipes, then try my Creamy Beet Risotto with Blue Cheese Crumbles - it really is the creamiest comfort food ever made!
Date night? Want to try something a bit sexy that won't cause a drama in the kitchen? Then try my Date Night Chicken Piccata. Or for a fast fuss-free mid week dinner that everyone is guaranteed to enjoy, grab my recipe for Baked Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken.
Are you a dessert person? If so, head to my friends blog and check out her delicious 'Perfect Pears' dessert...whats more, it's fat free so you can indulge guiltlessly.
- 1 ½ cups Aborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot (finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
- 5 cups chicken stock
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup fresh grated parmesan
- In a sauce pan, heat 5 cups of chicken stock on low heat until warm.
- In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot and sauté until they start to become translucent. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 to 60 seconds.
- Add 1½ cup aborio rice to the pan and stir to incorporate shallots and garlic. Rice will absorb the remaining olive oil. Add ½ cup white wine (or additional stock if substituting) to deglaze the pan and reduce heat to medium-low.
- When white wine is almost completely absorbed by the rice add 1 cup of chicken stock, salt, and white pepper. Stir continuously until all liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Repeat four more times.
- After the last addition of chicken stock, add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese. Risotto should be tender, not mushy, and creamy in texture.
- It is best to use warm chicken stock - or any stock of your choosing.
- After the addition of the fourth cup of chicken stock, taste the rice for texture. It should taste almost cooked. If it is still crunchy, reduce the heat on the stovetop to slow the cooking process.
- To make this ahead of time, cook the risotto up until the 4th cup of chicken. Remove from the heat, spread into a thin layer (as much as possible) to cool. When ready to serve, finish the remaining steps.