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Food Network star Ree Drummond’s delicious spins on the classic Italian dish of risotto take the beloved meal to another level.

Who says there’s just one way to prepare risotto? Not The Pioneer Woman host. Try one of her variations on risotto for a quick, easy, and delicious dinner.

Ree Drummond wears a multi-print blouse in this photograph.
Ree Drummond | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Ree Drummond says risotto is ‘perfectly simple’

On her Pioneer Woman website, Drummond waxed poetically about her love for the rice-based Italian favorite.

“The first time I ever tasted Risotto, I was living and working in Los Angeles,” she wrote. “Anyway, our office went out to dinner one night with the CEO and the CFO and the COO … and when the waitress took our order, all three of the big wigs ordered the special of the night: Risotto. Because I wanted to be a big wig too, I went ahead and ordered Risotto too. I had no idea what it even was.”

She soon found out that this wouldn’t be the last time she would cross paths with the satisfying rice dish.

“I don’t remember anything else that happened that evening, and it’s not because of the 874 bottles of chardonnay that passed around the table; it’s because once I took the first bite of that Risotto all creamy and textural and perfectly flavorful—I was transported to another plane of existence entirely,” she continued. ” … After that first bite, my life changed forever. I had eaten a perfectly prepared Risotto. And I never wanted to go back to the way I was before.”

Here are a few of Ree Drummond’s most popular risotto recipes.

Drummond’s Butternut Squash Risotto

The culinary personality’s risotto featuring the silky gourd also includes chile powder, torn kale, vegetable or chicken broth, turmeric, Parmesan shavings, heavy cream, fresh parsley, and of course, Arborio rice.

Reviewers on Food Network’s site expressed their satisfaction with Drummond’s recipe, saying, “We LOVE Arborio rice AND butternut squash is so good cooked this way. Adding the pretty deep green of the kale gives us a great new way of combining these healthy foods. Thx so much, Ree!” and “Just a wonderful dish, served with two roasted chicken breasts for a great healthy meal.”

Ree Drummond’s Lemon Basil Shrimp Risotto

Perfect on its own or as a side dish, this dish from Drummond features aromatic chopped basil paired with sweet, satisfying shrimp. Along with Arborio rice, garlic, white wine, vegetable broth, lemon juice, and heavy cream, this is a dish that hits the spot, as home cooks noted on Food Network’s site.

“Yum! This was excellent! Made mine pretty much according to the recipe- 4 cups broth and juice of 3/4 a large lemon. Creamy and easy to whip up! Will definitely make again!,” one reviewer wrote. Another person said, “This is the best recipe!! I love shrimp scampi and this takes it up a notch. Super easy too.”


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Her Creamy Cheesy Orzotto

Arborio rice gets a break in this risotto recipe from Drummond, in which orzo pasta is the main ingredient alongside chopped fresh rosemary, crushed red pepper flakes, white wine, heavy cream, shredded mozzarella, diced sundried tomatoes, chopped kale, and mascarpone and goat cheeses.

Food Network said of this dish, “Ree’s orzotto recipe treats orzo pasta like risotto rice, creating a rich and creamy side dish that’s great with salmon, vegetables or any kind of meat.”