The Creamy Ingredient You Should Try Adding To Risotto

A good risotto recipe is essential to any home chef's rotation: it's decadent, seems impressive, and — most importantly — is surprisingly easy to make if you know what you're doing. While the base ingredients of the dish generally stay the same, part of the joy of cooking the Italian staple is that it's adaptable to many types of diets and ingredients. All you (typically) need to start is Arborio rice, an onion, wine, and a pot of simmering broth. But beyond that, you can add just about anything: from seafood like scallops and lobster to meaty short rib, or keep it vegan with mushrooms and a plant-based parmesan.

The key to mastering risotto is nailing the technique of cooking it low and slow, gently adding in small amounts of broth. Jamie Oliver explains this is part of what gives the dish its characteristic creaminess. However, if you want an even richer risotto, another Italian ingredient is just the ticket.

Mascarpone cheese is the ultimate finishing touch

While many associate Mascarpone with decadent desserts like tiramisu, the Italian cream cheese has a lot to offer on the savory side as well. The Spruce Eats explains Mascarpone contains a significant amount of saturated fat, adding extra richness to any dish the cheese is used in. And because more is more, Mascarpone is the perfect ingredient to intensify the creaminess of homemade risotto.

MasterClass explains Mascarpone is best suited as a finishing touch added at the end of your risotto preparation, as the heat from cooking can cause the fat in the ingredient to separate out. While the classic Parmesan can be used alongside Mascarpone in your risotto recipe, the cheese can also be paired with Gruyère (via Food Network). Whichever cheese combo you opt for, make sure to stir vigorously once you add it to your rice, ensuring perfectly creamy results. You'll also want to bring the Mascarpone to room temperature before adding it; Otherwise, the cheese can be difficult to work with.

You should also feel free to add other ingredients to your Marscapone risotto, like peas or asparagus, fresh herbs, or even cooked chicken or chopped bacon. (Ina Garten is a fan of using saffron, which gives the dish a nice color in addition to its subtle taste, while Lena's Kitchen Blog recommends a bright combo of fresh chives and lemon juice for the dish.) Et voila, one super creamy risotto is ready to be served — we hope you invited friends.