Parmesan risotto is the epitome of a simple yet sophisticated Italian dish. It is made with only a few key ingredients, yet with the proper methodology and a little bit of time, the end result always incredibly satisfying.
What is risotto?
Risotto is a cooked rice dish, most commonly prepared with arborio rice. Risotto is regional to northern Italy, and you’ll most likely see it in cities like Milan, Verona, and Venice. Risotto can be prepared in a myriad of ways, but our favorite is this classic parmesan risotto recipe, or as the Italians say, risotto al parmigiano reggiano.
How To Make Parmesan Risotto
Making parmesan risotto is very straight forward. Don’t rush the process and beware of overcooking!
1- Sauteé the onions until soft in a large dutch oven. Be careful not to brown them. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the arborio rice and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
2- While the onions are sautéing and the rice is cooking, warm the chicken stock in a separate saucepan until it comes to a gentle simmer. You’ll want to keep the stock at this gentle simmer the entire time you cook the risotto.
3- Add the 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to the rice and stir to combine. The rice doesn’t need to be stirred constantly, just every 30 seconds or so. When the rice has absorbed all of the chicken stock, add another 1/2 cup and repeat. You’ll know it’s time to add more stock when you draw a line in the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon and the liquid predominantly remains in the rice, rather than spilling into the newly formed line.
4- Once the risotto has reached al dente, it’s time to remove it from your heat source. The rice should still be firm to the bite and not mushy in the slightest, yet still creamy and rich. Stir in the butter and Parmigiano Reggiano ,and if using top with sautéed mushrooms before or after plating.
What To Serve With Parmesan Risotto
This parmesan risotto dish is wonderful on its own, but there are a few great side dishes or proteins you can serve it with to really complete your meal:
- Steak Au Poivre
- Roasted Salmon
- Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Slow Roasted Chicken (but skip the potatoes- you have risotto!)
- The Perfect Cheese & Charcuterie Board
- Sauteed broccoli or green beans
Can You Reheat Risotto?
Risotto can be reheated, but it’s best to eat soon after it’s prepared. After sitting in the refrigerator, the risotto takes on a thick, mushy consistency (think leftover oatmeal) that is difficult to remediate. The best way to reheat risotto is to warm it over low heat in a dutch oven or saucepan, adding a few splashes of stock to loosen the risotto, stirring every so often until the risotto is warmed.
Can You Freeze Risotto?
We strongly recommend against freezing prepared risotto. Risotto is best served immediately and once cooled, frozen, and reheated the consistency is less than desirable.
Creamy Parmesan Risotto Recipe
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- kosher salt to taste
Sautéed Mushrooms (Optional)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 8 oz. mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
- kosher salt
- Bring a large, wide dutch oven or skillet to medium heat, and add the extra virgin olive oil. Once oil is warmed, add onions to the pan and cook until soft and translucent (7-10 minutes), stirring frequently. Do not let onions brown. While onions are cooking, bring the chicken stock to a gentle simmer in a separate pan.
- Add the arborio rice to onions and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth to the rice, stirring every 30 seconds until the broth is absorbed by the rice. Repeat several times, until the rice is al dente and the risotto is creamy (this usually takes about 20-25 minutes). You may have some leftover stock.
- Remove risotto from heat and stir in the butter and Parmigiano Reggiano. Taste the risotto and add more salt if needed. Top with mushrooms if using and serve immediately with additional Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish.
- Melt the butter in a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sautée until they are a deep golden brown and fragrant. Sprinkle with kosher salt, toss, and serve on top of parmesan risotto.
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