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Simple Risotto

The basics for a risotto are pretty simple - olive oil, the right kind of rice, butter, white wine and stock.  The end result is all in the procedure. You might have to try it a few times before you get the right liquid and the right texture.  But, whether or not you nail the consistency, it should always taste delicious!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1 medium onuon finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (if you can find carnaroli rice, it's a bit better)
  • 1/2 cup white wine, dry
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock (you can sub in veggie stock)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup castelmagno (or similar cheese)
  • 1 handful spinach leaves, finely sliced
  • 6 large basil leaves, finely sliced
  • 3 oven dried tomatoes (you can use sun dried but make sure they are moist and not rubbery)
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • basil leaves for garnish (optional)


  • Bring the 1 1.2 cups of water and two cups of broth to boil; lower to a low simmer and keep hot (although in Piedmonte, they didn't heat it up!!)
  • In a large pan over medium heat. Saute onion in the olive oil until very soft and translucent but not yet brown.
  •  Add the rice and salt and continue to cook until all the rice is coated with oil and the rice has turned opaque; add the wine and cook, stirring frequently until all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Pour one cup of broth into the rice and stir until that liquid is absorbed; add the final cup of rice and bring to a full simmer.
  • Repeat the process of adding liquid and stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed; taste the rice at this point (it should be almost cooked through with just a small crunch of dry rice in the middle) and then stir in the spinach and basil leaves
  • Remove from the heat and use a spoon to quickly stir in the butter rapidly for a full minute (the texture of the actual rice, when finished, should be firm in the middle but not quite crunchy and the consistency of the risotto should spread when scooped on to a plate).  If the consistency is too stiff, add more liquid and continue to stir.
  •  Fold in the cheese but do not completely stir it in as you should get some bites of saltiness as you enjoy your risotto; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • After you plate each dish, top with a few pieces of oven dried tomato (I like the tang combined with the smoothness of the risotto), a crumbling of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and maybe a few leaves of basil