The Best Risotto

With relatively few ingredients (none of them being cream), the success of a classic creamy risotto depends largely on technique. We've tested all the methods and narrowed it down to a few easy-to-follow steps that will help you achieve perfectly cooked Italian-style rice every time. This basic recipe is delicious on its own and makes a wonderful base to add your favorite vegetables or protein.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

7 cups homemade chicken stock (see Cook's Note)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups arborio rice (see Cook's Note)

1 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

Directions

  1. Warm the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cover and keep warm while you make the risotto.
  2. Heat the olive oil in another medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and about 10 grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves and 3 tablespoons butter, stirring until the butter has melted, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the rice and toast, stirring only once, until it smells nutty and starts to turn light golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Pour in the wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has evaporated completely, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Ladle one cup of the warm stock into the rice and cook, stirring gently without stopping, until the rice has absorbed the liquid, 2 to 3 minutes (you will know it's time to add more stock when you move the rice aside and no liquid pools in the center).
  6. Repeat this process, adding more stock a ladleful at a time, until the rice is al dente, 17 to 19 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. (You may have a little stock left over. If so, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.) If you prefer your risotto on the saucier side, add more stock 1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  7. Stir in the Parmesan, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt and a few more grinds of black pepper and serve with more Parmesan, if desired. 

Cook’s Note

We prefer the flavor of homemade chicken stock in this recipe. If you don't have any, you can substitute quality low-sodium chicken broth, but it will affect the flavor somewhat. Arborio rice is a medium-grain Italian variety that is grown for making risotto.