Preparing risotto at home requires a particular cooking technique that is found primarily in northern Italy and used for all risotto dishes you may want to make. Although the flavoring additions are endless, you need to start with the same basics every time.

The two main ingredients consist of the rice and broth.

You should use an Italian variety of rice that is specifically grown in Italy, such as Arborio, Vialone Nano, or Cararoli. Arborio can now be found in most American grocery stores, but certainly can be found at an Italian specialty store.

The broth should be homemade; to ensure the most flavor, but if time or circumstances make having homemade broth impossible, use the best canned broth you can find. Chicken, vegetable, fish and meat broths are all used depending on the other ingredients used in the dish.

The flavoring ingredients can be almost anything, including vegetables, seafood, meats, and every combination in between. This is the basic cooking technique one would use to create simple Risotto Parmesan. To make other recipes, the flavoring ingredients would be added at different intervals of the cooking process depending on how long they require to cook.

To start the risotto, you begin by sautéing chopped onion in butter or combination of butter and olive oil over medium heat until it is translucent. The rice is then added to the pot and mixed well with the butter and onions.

Next a splash of wine is usually added for flavor, and once it has evaporated, a small addition of warm broth is added. You continue in this manner, stirring constantly and adding broth once the rice begins to absorb it. Continue cooking and stirring, for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked but yet retains a bit of firmness to the teeth.

To complete the dish you remove it from the heat, and add a little butter and some grated Parmesan. The risotto should be very creamy, and will firm up as it cools. This technique remains the same for each recipe, unless seafood is added in which case you would eliminate the addition of cheese.

Okay, you now know the technique, so it’s time to give it a try.

Risotto with Shrimp


1 cup Arborio rice
450 gr (1 lb.) shrimp (fresh)
2 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (finely diced)
1/2 cup dry white wine 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbl. unsalted butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbl. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. saffron

Preparation Method:

Bring your chicken stock to a boiling point and have ready at stoveside. In a large skillet with a heavy bottom, heat oil over low heat and sauté onions until translucent. Add rice, stir to coat with oil and sauté with onions to toast each grain, approx. 7 minutes. Once toasted, add white wine slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon. ( I like to remove the pot from the heat source before adding wine.) Add saffron. Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add 1 cup chicken stock, stirring occasionally.

Continue adding stock as the rice absorbs the liquid and the pot becomes dry, until all the stock is absorbed.

This whole process should take about 20 minutes and the risotto will be a little chewy (to your liking) and should have a creamy texture. With 2 - 3 minutes left - and please, this will depend on you and your stove, so don't worry too much about timing - add the shrimp and cook until done. Add the butter, Parmesan and heavy cream.
Stir to combine ingredients and serve immediately. Enjoy!