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A Cooking Adventure with Thom

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Basic Risotto

Thom Hackett
The New York Times
Servings: 2



The most important part of any risotto is, of course, the rice. Arborio or, less commonly, vialone are the classic choices; they are short-grain varieties that will result in a creamy product that retains a slight bite to each grain. Using regular long-grain rice will produce a mushy, gummy mass. The next essential ingredient in risotto is the broth or stock. As always, homemade stock is preferable, but a low sodium canned stock will work fine (bouillon cubes tend to be too salty and should only be used in emergencies). Make sure you have the stock on a low simmer as you prepare the rice. Any risotto follows this basic formula at its start; additional flavors and ingredients are added afterwards.



3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup rice
1 cup dry white wine, or vermouth
cup heavy cream
cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
salt and pepper, to taste


Cooking Method

Chicken Stock:

  1. Bring stock to a simmer in a stockpot over medium-low heat.

  2. Reduce heat to low.


  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the butter (or use part butter and part olive oil) over medium heat.

  2. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.


  1. Add the rice and cook over medium-high heat for about one minute, stirring to coat with the butter.

  2. Add the white wine and stir until the wine is absorbed, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add the first addition of simmering stock, about cup.

  4. Stir until most of the liquid is absorbed.

  5. Add another addition of stock and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. 

  6. The process will take about 20 minutes.

  7. Turn off the heat.

  8. Stir in the cream and the chopped parsley and the grated cheese to taste.

  9. Season with salt and pepper.

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