Parmesan Risotto Recipe

Is there any food more comforting than a bowlful of rich, creamy, cheesy risotto? This Parmesan risotto is thick and flavorful, and makes either a great side dish or a filling main meal on its own. Risotto is a Northern Italian rice-based dish, where rice is slowly cooked in a pan by adding small quantities of stock at a time. When done correctly, this cooking method results in deliciously creamy rice. It is a comfort food with a touch of refined elegance — a combination that the Italian cuisine has truly mastered.

Recipe developer Jennine Rye tells us her favorite trick for cooking Parmesan risotto: Don't throw away those leftover Parmesan rinds. Instead, add them to your stock at the beginning of the recipe, to infuse the risotto dish with Parmesan flavor as it cooks. The stock makes all the difference with risotto as this is where a lot of the flavor of the dish is based, so take your time with it and make sure to use good quality stock. 

If you plan to serve this Parmesan risotto recipe as a side dish, we recommend chicken, lamb, fish or roasted Mediterranean vegetables as great pairing options. Add a glass of cold, crisp white wine and you've got a meal to be proud of. However you choose to serve this risotto, don't forget to keep stirring while it cooks. Agitating the grains helps to release their starches, creating the thick and creamy texture risotto is known for. 

Gather the ingredients for this parmesan risotto

To make this Parmesan risotto, first you will need to gather the ingredients. You will need chicken or vegetable stock, Parmesan and a Parmesan rind, bay leaves, olive oil, butter, an onion, garlic, white wine, arborio rice, thyme, oregano, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and fresh basil to serve.

It is important to use the right kind of rice when making risotto, and there are many different types available on the store shelves. We recommend Arborio rice as the best option for your risotto dish, as it creates a wonderful texture when cooked and is widely available. 

Prepare your stock

The perfect risotto requires a flavorful stock. So, to begin this recipe, heat up good quality stock in a large saucepan, along with bay leaves, and the Parmesan rind. The stock does not need to be boiling. It should be kept to a steady, gentle simmer throughout the cooking process, so that it doesn't alter the temperature of the risotto, and consequently the cooking process, when it is added to the pan. The Parmesan rind will infuse a wonderful flavor to the stock and the resulting dish.

Begin the risotto

Start the risotto by heating up olive oil in a pan until it is shimmering, and then add the onions and garlic. Fry them over a medium heat until they are softened and translucent, and then add the Arborio rice to the pan. Stir the rice to coat it with oil and then allow it to cook in the pan for a few minutes. This helps the rice grains to cook uniformly without clumping together, as well as adding a light nutty taste to the finished dish.

Add the liquids

Once the risotto rice is lightly toasted and fragrant, it is time to add the white wine. Once the white wine has been added to the rice, continue to stir it until it has been fully absorbed. Then, begin to add the warm stock to the pan one cup at a time. Regularly stir the risotto to keep agitating the rice grains, as this will release the necessary starches to produce a thick, creamy texture. Continue to add cups of stock to the risotto until it has all been absorbed, and the rice grains are swollen and just soft. Then, stir in the thyme and oregano.

Add the final ingredients

When the Arborio rice is cooked, turn off the hob and stir in the butter. For the best results, we recommend using a balloon whisk and stirring vigorously; this will help the liquid from the risotto and the fat from the butter to properly emulsify, creating a delicious velvety finish to the dish. Then, stir in the lemon juice and the grated Parmesan, before seasoning the dish with salt and pepper. Serve the finished Parmesan risotto with finely chopped basil and further grated Parmesan if desired.

Parmesan Risotto Recipe
4.8 from 90 ratings
In this classic risotto, rice simmers in a wine and an herb-packed stock before getting hit with lemon and tons of Parmesan cheese.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
45
minutes
Servings
4
servings
Close up of a bowl of Parmesan risotto
Total time: 55 minutes
Ingredients
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (3-inch) Parmesan rind
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Optional Ingredients
  • Fresh basil, for serving
Directions
  1. Add the stock, Parmesan rind, and bay leaves to a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring to infuse the flavor of Parmesan through the stock. Keep the stock to a simmer as you begin the risotto.
  2. In a large, deep-based frying pan, add the olive oil, the chopped onion, and the garlic, and then cook for 5-10 minutes on a medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the rice to the pan, stir it to coat it thoroughly in oil, and allow it to toast for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add the white wine to the pan and keep stirring until the rice has fully absorbed the liquid; this should take 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the warm stock to the pan 1 cup at a time, stirring it into the rice. As the rice absorbs the stock, continue to add it 1 cup at a time and stir regularly, until all the stock has been used up.
  6. Stir in the dried thyme and oregano.
  7. Take the risotto off the heat and whisk the butter in using a balloon whisk to emulsify it, making it light and velvety. Then, stir in the grated Parmesan, the lemon juice, and season to taste.
  8. Serve with fresh chopped basil and an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
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