7 Decadent Risotto Recipes to Enjoy the Italian Dish at Home
The creamy northern Italian dish of risotto makes a delightful base for exotic seasonings and ingredients. The dish’s preparation involves a specific, plump variety of rice — traditionally Arborio, named for a small town in Italy’s Po Valley, notes NPR — which is steeped to a perfect, luxurious texture as hot broth or water is slowly added. This process results in creamy, decadent dish that can be jazzed up using any number of creative ingredients.
Try one of these seven recipes for a hearty, indulgent risotto that everyone will love.
1. Creamy Seafood Risotto
Seafood is a major component in peninsular Italian fare, making it a wonderful addition to your creamy risotto. This particular recipe also incorporates the complex taste of saffron — an homage, perhaps, to the popular 19th-century dish saffron-spiced risotto alla Milanese – what food historians consider the prototype for risotto today. Food and Wine‘s fantastically savory recipe takes 30 minutes to complete and makes 6 servings.
- 3 cups bottled clam juice
- 2½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1½ cups arborio rice (10 ounces)
- Pinch of saffron threads
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- ½ pound cooked shrimp, cut into thirds
- ½ pound lump crab meat, picked over
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
Directions: In a medium saucepan, combine the clam broth and water and bring to a simmer. Keep warm.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring to thoroughly coat. Crumble the saffron into the wine and add it to the rice. Cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup of the warm clam juice and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the juice ½ cup at a time, and stirring constantly until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 20 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and crab and cook until just heated through. Scrape the seafood into the risotto and stir in the parsley and mascarpone. Serve immediately.
2. Risotto with Stuffed Peppers and Zucchini
Get your vegetable fix in tonight’s dinner with a delicious risotto-stuffed pepper and zucchini recipe from the Food Network‘s Rachael Ray. If you’d prefer the dish with an autumnal twist, try substituting a squash in for the peppers. To prepare ahead of time, scoop the risotto into the vegetables, cover, and refrigerate. Bake as directed once you are ready to serve. Dish takes an hour and 25 minutes to complete and yields 4 servings.
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Generous pinch saffron threads
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1½ cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Juice of ½ orange
- ½ cup panko or homemade breadcrumbs
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or a combination of parsley and fresh mint
Directions: Combine the chicken stock, 2 cups water, the orange and lemon zests and the saffron in a pot, and bring to a low simmer.
Halve the zucchini lengthwise and gently scrape out the center flesh and seeds. Chop the center flesh and seeds and reserve. Halve each zucchini again crosswise. Arrange the zucchini and bell peppers cut-side up in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a round-bottomed risotto pot or pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chopped zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in the rice, then add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute.
Add the stock mixture a few ladles at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition and allowing the liquid to mostly evaporate before adding more. The rice will take about 18 minutes to cook to al dente. In the last minute or so of cooking, stir in ½ cup cheese, the butter and the lemon and orange juices. Scoop the risotto into the vegetables.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ cup cheese with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the tops of the risotto filling. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until the tops are browned, 10 to 15 more minutes. Garnish with the parsley.
3. Butternut Squash Risotto
Earthy and sweet butternut squash contains high levels of vitamins A and C, along with folate, reports the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). On top of being a healthy addition to your meal, squash is a delicious way to welcome in the fall season. This smooth, palatable risotto is the perfect dish to enjoy on a crisp fall evening. Savory parmesan cheese lends an exquisite balance to the dish’s subtle, sweet squash and wine flavors. This recipe from All Recipes takes 55 minutes to complete and makes 4 servings.
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ onion, minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 5 cups hot chicken stock
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
Directions: Place squash cubes into a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow to steam until the squash is tender (10 to 15 minutes), then drain, and mash in a bowl with a fork.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir for 2 minutes until the onion begins to soften, then stir in the rice. Continue cooking and stirring until the rice is glossy from the butter, and the onion begins to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes more.
Pour in the white wine; cook, stirring constantly, until it has evaporated. Stir in the mashed squash and ⅓ of the hot chicken stock; reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir until the chicken stock has been absorbed by the rice, 5 to 7 minutes. Add half of the remaining chicken stock, and continue stirring until it has been absorbed. Finally, pour in the remaining stock, and continue stirring until the risotto is creamy. Finish by stirring in the Parmesan cheese, and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Melon and Prosciutto Risotto
The Kitchn explains that prosciutto is cured ham taken from the hind leg of a pig — typically, the meat is rubbed with salt and spices, drawing out excess moisture and leaving behind a concentrated flavor. Classically savory and sweet, this recipe from Bon Appétit combines prosciutto with naturally sweet melon to create distinctive, flavorful dinnertime blend. The recipe serves 6 and takes an hour to complete.
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ medium cantaloupe (peeled, seeded, grated)
- 2 chopped shallots
- 1 chopped garlic clove
- 2 cups arborio rice
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup mascarpone
- 1 ounce chopped prosciutto
- Thinly sliced basil
Directions: Bring 6 cups vegetable broth to a simmer. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ½ medium cantaloupe (peeled, seeded, grated), 2 chopped shallots, and 1 chopped garlic clove; cook, stirring, until liquid is thickened, 8–10 minutes. Add 2 cups arborio rice and cup dry white wine; cook for 2 minutes. Add broth by ½-cupfuls, stirring often and cooking until liquid is almost absorbed before adding more, until all broth has been added and rice is tender, 25–30 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup mascarpone and 1 ounce chopped prosciutto; top with thinly sliced basil.
5. Vegetable Risotto
Cook up this simple, vegetarian-friendly risotto recipe for a smooth, refined dinnertime indulgence. It includes onions and zucchini for added texture, relying on garlic and pepper for its characteristic savory taste. Try serving it as a hearty side to a light, understated fish entrée. Chow‘s recipe takes 55 minutes to complete and yields 4 servings.
- 1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 2 medium zucchini, small dice
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Directions: In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer over medium heat and keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels start to crackle, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour a ladleful of broth over the rice and let simmer, stirring constantly, until the rice absorbs the broth and the bottom of the pot is nearly dry. Continue adding broth a little at a time, seasoning occasionally and stirring constantly, until the rice is nearly al dente, about 20 minutes.
Add the zucchini and continue to cook until the rice is tender on the outside but still has some resistance when you bite into it, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the Parmesan, taste, and season as desired. Serve with additional Parmesan.
6. Three-Cheese Risotto
There are few things in life that aren’t improved with a generous serving of cheese — and Emeril Lagasse seems to agree. The Food Network star’s recipe for three-cheese risotto incorporates a rich combination of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheeses. If that doesn’t sound rich enough for you, the recipe also relies on butter and heavy cream to perfect its delightfully creamy consistency. Recipe takes 45 minutes to make and yields 4 to 6 servings.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- Salt and white pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 pound Arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup grated Romano cheese
- ¼ cup grated Asiago cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
Directions: In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 minutes, or until the onions are slightly soft. Add the stock and garlic. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 6 minutes. Add the rice and simmer for 18 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the mixture is creamy and bubbly. Add the butter, cream, cheese, and chives. Reseason with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes and serve immediately.
7. Beet Risotto with Greens, Goat Cheese, and Walnuts
Cooking Light offers a risotto dish for the adventurous eaters. The dish features earthy red beets, goat cheese, chard, and walnuts as its star players — but subtle notes of ginger, rosemary, and dry white wine are what truly make it worth trying. The dish takes about 40 minutes to complete and yields 4 (1½ cup servings), each containing 412 calories and 14.1 grams of protein.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups finely chopped peeled beets
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 (14½-ounce) can vegetable broth
- 6 cups finely sliced Swiss chard
- ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Directions: Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute 3 minutes. Add rice, ginger, and rosemary; saute 1 minute. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
Add beets, water, salt, and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until beets are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in chard; cook 5 minutes. Add cheese, stirring until blended. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon walnuts.