The idea that making risotto requires hours of stirring over a hot stove is a total myth, as is the notion that there are no healthy risotto recipes. This creamy rice dish is as easy as boiling pasta, and can definitely be part of a balanced meal with vegetables or salad.
It requires occasional stirring, sure—30 minutes that you can spend sipping Sangiovese, snacking on cured meats, and chatting up friends around the stove, where everyone gravitates anyway—but it’s not as demanding as, say, a proper roux. It’s made from simple, whole ingredients and is filling, so a little goes a long way, and you’ll definitely want leftovers to use in things like arancini and risotto cakes. Once you’ve mastered the basic method, try our six delicious variations—or develop your own!
Since this is a simple dish, stunning results depend on good ingredients and proper technique—don’t skimp on the quality of your olive oil, wine, or cheese; be sure to use arborio rice or carnaroli rice; and don’t forget to stir once in a while. Other than that, it’s a cinch. Get our Basic Risotto recipe.
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While arborio rice is the most widely available and recommended type for risotto in the U.S., many people swear that carnaroli is the absolute best grain for the job.
A pinch of saffron lends golden color and heady flavor to this risotto, and tender chunks of winter squash bring extra texture, heft, and sweetness to the mix. Get our Squash and Saffron Risotto recipe.
Thinly sliced brussels sprouts sauteed with a little lemon juice and zest (try Meyer lemons in season for a subtly different twist) plus sweet pieces of fig make for an uncommonly good risotto perfect on its own, or as a partner with pork. Get our Brussels Sprouts and Lemon Risotto recipe.
Whether you choose to highlight a single herb or use a whole garden’s worth mixed together, this fresh, green-speckled risotto is further brightened with a squirt of lemon, and perfect with pretty much anything you may want to serve with it, from chicken to fish to simply roasted veggies. Get our Herbed Risotto recipe.
Take a trip to the Italian coast with this hearty but healthy risotto with shrimp, scallops, and calamari—plus peas for an earthy sweetness that complements all the other flavors. Get our Seafood Risotto recipe.
For when you want something truly decadent, lobster risotto is just the thing. Sweet, tender chunks of meat stud the rice, which is enriched with a quick, delicious lobster broth made from the shells. And two lobsters stretch to feed six people this way, so it’s perfect for a classy dinner party that won’t break the bank. Get our Lobster Risotto recipe.
For more tips, tricks, and healthy recipes, check out our healthy living page.
Related Video: What to Do with Leftover Risotto
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