Basic Risotto

Arborio Rice is the only kind of rice that should be used when making risotto, a classic Northern Italian dish. It is a short grain, highly glutinous white rice that is primarily grown in the Po Valley of Italy.

Arborio Rice has the distinction of absorbing flavors well and merging with liquids yet staying firm. It absorbs five time its weight, creating a consistency that can only be described as creamy.

“When you are making a risotto you should be in perfect harmony with yourself. You shouldn’t be nervous or angry. It’s a ritual that is going to give you so much pleasure later that it’s worth spending fifteen or twenty minutes over a hot stove stirring very slowly. It can be like seducing a woman. She doesn’t know you, and you need to work things out with her slowly- meeting, flirting, getting to know each other. That’s what a good risotto is all about. It’s the dish of romance. If you rush it, it’s never good.” (Luongo, Tuscan, page 120)

Basic Risotto
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups arborio rice (Do not substitute any other kind)
  • 4½ - 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, to taste
  1. Parmesan Cheese, to taste
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over a low flame and add onion. Cook until onion is golden, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add rice and saute one minute.
  4. Add ½ cup stock to rice and simmer until all the stock has been absorbed, stirring constantly and slowly.
  5. Continue adding stock until all the stock has been absorbed, continuing to add it gradually and stirring all the while.
  6. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese: risotto waits for no one.


Add 1/4 cup goat cheese and chopped fresh basil just prior to serving.
Add 1 – 2 cups green peas and 2 garlic cloves when you add the onions.
Add 2 tomatoes when you add the onion. Add chopped fresh basil.