How To Make Super Creamy Risotto At Home

by jenna on November 23, 2010

Fact: I’m a much better baker than I am chef.

I like exacts….things that are black and white without any smidge of gray. Scales and measuring cups, carefully written recipes, consistency and reliability. Most of all, I like knowing that if I mix together flour, water, salt and yeast, I will get bread. Of some form.

My mom on the other hand? Now she’s a chef. She can turn nothing into anything and loves creating recipes on the fly with whatever she has on hand. Whenever I’m home, I’ll sit perched on a bar-stool while she cooks, furiously scribbling down the ingredients and proportions that I see.

“Mom, exactly how much cream should I be using?” I’ll ask.

“Oh, you know…just a drizzle!” She’ll respond with a laugh. “There’s no recipe, really; it’s just a little of this and a little of that!”

or

“Mom, can you tell the exact amount of chicken stock in that soup?”

“Just till it looks right, Jen! Maybe a quart or so?”

I’m not really an anal person, per-say. Really!

That all being said though, what I can cook is a mighty fine bowl of risotto.

It’s probably the best thing I make, actually— not to toot my own horn too much, though, since I can’t cook regular ol’ rice for squat.

So, grab a glass of wine, pull up a bar-stool and listen up. I promise that by the end of this post you, too, can make delicious creamy risotto that will rival any restaurant version.

Fact: mushroom risotto is one of my favorite things….ever. It’s the recipe I whip out when I need to impress, and I pretty owe the status of my current relationship to it.

Well, that and a large pepperoni pizza.

But that’s another post for another time!

People go crazy for this stuff (once I made it for a crowd of 24 with success) and, for some reason, always think it’s really hard and time consuming to make. But guess what? It’s totally not. In fact, it’s actually incredibly easy to make.

Start by swirling one tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot.

Put the pot on the stove and bring the heat up to medium.

Now, mince a shallot (I love shallots because they don’t have that real strong onion-y taste!):

When the olive oil is hot, add the shallot.

Cook for about four minutes, until soft and translucent. Once that’s done, add the rice. To serve four, you’d add a cup but since I’m just making this for myself today I only used a fourth of a cup. (Note that the rest of this recipe will be suited to serve four, not one)

Stir the rice and make sure that each kernel is covered in olive oil. Cook for about three minutes, stirring often.

And then we start to add the liquid. If I were cool, I would have added a fourth of a cup of white wine here. But….I’m not cool and don’t have any white wine at the moment so I just used chicken stock.

You could also use chicken broth or vegetable broth. I just love the rich taste of the stock versus broth. Oh, and don’t use water!!!

Water is for drinking, wine and stock are for cooking. (that’s what she said?)

With your heat on medium, add one fourth cup of stock. Then stir, stir, stir.

Keep stirring. Stir until you a) can’t feel your arm anymore or b) see that the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

And then another fourth cup. Keep this stirring process going until all the stock has been added and the rice is cooked (taste-test!).

And, since we’re making mushroom risotto today, you’ll want to stir in some cooked mushrooms…along with freshly grated Parmesan cheese:

The end result should be a little bit thicker than rice pudding. You want to be able to scoop it onto a plate and have it hold it’s shape…no one likes runny risotto!

Stirring for so long may seem tedious, but to me, it’s almost like yoga in the kitchen. It forces you to concentrate on one task, and one task alone. It’s a great way to clear your mind, and the end result is very rewarding…I promise!

Sometimes I’ll just have a bowl of this by itself for dinner. It’s the perfect comfort food. Last night, though, I had it alongside a baked chicken breast and some green beans and it was equally fabulous.

Mushroom Risotto

serves 4 as a side-dish

1 cup arborio rice

1 shallot

4-4 1/2 cups chicken stock, broth or vegetable stock

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

16 oz sliced mushrooms

1 T extra virgin olive oil

Mince the shallot and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot under medium heat. Once hot, add the shallot and saute for about four minutes, or until tender and translucent.

Add the rice and stir well to coat. Cook for three minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the white wine and cook until all is absorbed, stirring constantly.

Then, add the stock, a quarter cup at a time (a ladle does this job nicely), stirring continuously over medium heat. Add more stock once the previous amount has been completely absorbed by the rice. Continue this patter until you’ve used all of the stock, and the rice has cooked through.

In a separate pan, saute the mushrooms for about eight minutes until tender. Once tender, add them to the risotto along with the cheese.  Stir well and serve.

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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 23, 2010 at 7:21 am

I was just discussing with someone in my blog comments about toasting the risotto in bacon grease instead of olive oil. I also love mushroom risotto. Can you imagine risotto + bacon grease + mushrooms + parmesan??

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jenna November 23, 2010 at 7:23 am

ummm can I come over for dinner? Also, thanks for the email, girl!

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Kelly November 23, 2010 at 7:28 am

I love this idea. You know what else would be amazing, toasting in duck fat. Just saying.

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jenna November 23, 2010 at 7:29 am

I like the way you think.

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Sarah December 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I have actually made smoked bacon and mushroom risotto…I cooked the bacon part way, added the mushrooms and sauteed together. Once they were all done, I used tongs to scoop the bacon and mushrooms into a bowl while keeping the dripping in the pan. The I made the risotto in the same pan as usual, adding the bacon and mushrooms at the end. *om nom nom*

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Maria November 23, 2010 at 7:24 am

Great post! You can’t beat a creamy risotto!

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Jasmine @ Eat Move Write November 23, 2010 at 7:26 am

I’m just the opposite. I love to cook on the fly and I tend to be pretty decent at it, but I have never liked baking because it’s so exact. I hate exactness. It stresses me out. But, I’m a writer, though, so I tend to be super artsy. My husband gets irritated by my penchant for chaos, so I’m sure the stream flows both ways. :p

I’ve never made risotto for the very reason you mentioned. It just *seems* hard and time consuming. But, you’re right, this doesn’t seem bad at all. And, it looks amazing. I love mushrooms in rice.

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Lisa November 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

I’ve been intimidated by risotto for the longest time and always left cooking it up to my boyfriend. But this step-by-step post is just what I needed! I can’t wait to try it myself.

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R @ Learning As I Chop November 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

Very stupid question but what do you mean by a heavy-bottomed pot? And I assume you can just use a dutch oven, correct?

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jenna November 23, 2010 at 7:28 am

yep!

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Shannon @ Freshman Yr of Life November 23, 2010 at 7:29 am

I just bought a box from trader joe’s of some sore of rice mixture and there’s a recipe for mushroom risotto on the back and I was thinking of making it next week. I’ll def be checking back here for this recipe!!

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Girlonraw November 23, 2010 at 7:36 am

I always hear people say how hard they believe risotto to be but you are correct in that it’s not too hard at all. I’d also add some aspargus and sundried tomatoes to this…oh yum, think I just might!

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Becki @ Hike, Bike, Eat November 23, 2010 at 7:36 am

Wait! You forgot the massive amounts of extra butter and mascarpone! It should be so cheesy it hurts!

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) November 23, 2010 at 7:37 am

The conversations you have with your mom are like mine with my dad. “But Dad, my readers need numbers…amounts…measurements!!!” “Just tell them to throw in whatever they want” “That’s not a recipe…”

I, too, like baking more than cooking for that same reason.

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tina November 23, 2010 at 7:39 am

omg, this looks DIVINE!

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Olympe November 23, 2010 at 7:39 am

Looks great (as always). I cooked a risotto this weekend. I think it is the best comfort food ever.
I usually cook in butter instead of olive oil (but that’s just the French girl in me).

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Denise November 23, 2010 at 7:43 am

Mmm, I make it like that. The only thing you forgot is to finish with cheese AND butter (mantecatura)…that’s the Italian way and I love it!

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Vicky @ eat live spin November 23, 2010 at 7:44 am

I love making risotto… I actually keep my veggie broth simmering in another pot and mix in about 1/2 a cup to the rice at a time… http://www.eatlivespin.com/2010/11/thanksgiving-dish-trial.html
My dad actually makes the best risotto in the microwave… he found a recipe in the late 80′s or early 90′s in the New York Times… I tried it his way and failed! I am definitely going to try it your way too.

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lisa November 23, 2010 at 7:46 am

risotto is my new favorite dish. I think I only discovered it a couple months ago and now order it out anytime its available. Cant wait to try this mushroom risotto

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RhodeyGirl November 23, 2010 at 7:50 am

I’m surprised that you don’t use warm broth. Try heating your broth next time and adding it WARM, NOT cold or room temp. It will be even creamier and better. :)

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Tab - Just Weighing In November 23, 2010 at 7:54 am

oh how I love Risotto! I remember a few years ago when my husband and I honeymooned on the Queen Mary II as we sailed for England – since it was a European ship, the food was very different than what I’m used to. The Risotto they served was one of the only things that I really enjoyed and I haven’t quite been able to replicate it since… going to have to try this recipe for sure!

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Eleonora November 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

Can I highly recommend a glass of wine? A (northern)Italian proverb says that “rice was born in water and must die in wine”. I also suggest Vialone Nano and Carnaroli rice, together with Arborio they are the typical risotto rice, starchy but keeping their “shape”. A typical north-eastern italian recipe features raw salami (I think fresh sausage would do) and no oil, just use the sausage fat!

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Estela @ Weekly Bite November 23, 2010 at 7:59 am

I love risotto! You can’t beat the creaminess!!!

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Shelly November 23, 2010 at 8:02 am

I LOVE risotto. I even love brown rice risotto (look for short grained brown rice) and barley risotto- they both combine the signature risotto creaminess with a slightly more earthy taste and a pleasant chewiness that stands up well to more robust toppings.
My favorite risotto combinations are canned pumpkin (stir in 1/4 cup with the last of the cooking liquid) and roasted red peppers, peas and asparagus, or peas with a little butter tomato sauce (san marzano tomatoes cooked down with butter and onion for about 45 minutes) over barley risotto.
I also like to make little balls of risotto with parmesan and lemon zest, stick a piece of mozzarella in the middle, wrap them in blanched chard leaves and heat them briefly in a little chicken broth in the oven to melt the cheese. AMAZING.

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Erin November 23, 2010 at 8:03 am

I LOVE this post! I love making risotto. I can’t even describe my love for it. I would say my current relationship is also largely the result of mushroom (and bacon) risotto. It is also the most therapeutic food to make in the world. I love the stirring–which is why my regular rice is always a disaster. And then there’s a delightful, creamy meal at the end. It’s also so adaptable to whatever you have on hand.
Sorry, that was quite a tangent!

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Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 23, 2010 at 8:05 am

I’ve never made risotto because it always seems so complex… and all that stirring involved. But this seems totally doable… and worth the effort.

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Lizzie November 23, 2010 at 8:07 am

I LOVE risotto – you’re right . . it really is the perfect comfort food (well, that and gnocchi!). For someone who doesn’t love mushrooms, do you have any other combos that you like?

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Ally November 23, 2010 at 8:07 am

I just made a risotto and it was so complicated!! This looks so simple…I am going to make your from now on. Thanks Jenna!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 23, 2010 at 8:10 am

This looks delicious! My 2 favourite veggies to add to risotto are butternut squash and mushrooms (or both together). Yours looks fabulous! I’m not big on stirring (hence, my attempts at cooking regular rice usually result in forgetting about it and boiling the pot dry.. ooops) but if it’s gonna look this pretty, then I’ll do it! :)

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Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) November 23, 2010 at 8:11 am

Back before I was as comfotable in the kitchen as I am now, all I had heard about risotto was that it ‘was easy to screw up’ & ‘impossible to get right’… then a few years later I bought a bag and got my pot of stock hot (btw Kitchen basics is my FAVORITE – it acutally tastes most like home made stock) and my skillet with a little butter and garlic and got to work… One ladel at a time and BOOM, creamy risotto. SO EASY. Just maybe a little tedious, but not really ;P

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Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa November 23, 2010 at 8:18 am

I loveeeeee risotto! Can’t wait to try this!

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Krystina (Basil & Wine) November 23, 2010 at 8:29 am

I love risotto. So much. I need to make this, except I have no cash and drank the last of my wine. Damn.

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Moni'sMeals November 23, 2010 at 8:33 am

Greatness! I hope to try this. I too feel like I am a better baker than a chef but if I mastered this, it could all change. :)

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Sharon November 23, 2010 at 8:45 am

Oh this looks so amazing. Is it ok to have mushroom risotto with turkey on Thanksgiving?

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Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 23, 2010 at 8:47 am

I find stirring oddly relaxing as well. Is this weird? I don’t care.

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Angharad November 23, 2010 at 8:49 am

Mushroom risotto is my fave! It’s the husband’s go-to and he makes a mean and magical mushroom risotto! I have never actually tried my hand at it but am also of the opinion that it’s really not as hard as people seem to think.

I’m much more of a baker than a chef too – precise portions and measurements make me comfortable and happy – and I reckon that risotto is a baker’s dream! It’s all really precise and involves lots of stirring!

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Munching Mamacita November 23, 2010 at 9:03 am

Oh how funny! My mother and I have the exact same relationship when it comes to cooking/baking. She can pull random items out of her cabinets and fridge and whip up some incredible meal she just made off the top of her head. If I ask her to recite the recipe in quantities, forget it! P.s. the risotto looks MARVELOUS! Must try this asap.

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Lu November 23, 2010 at 9:09 am

I’m making this tonight. I saw the post and thought ‘yum’ and made up my mind and then I saw the first comment and contemplated proposing to Ms. Jessica. My heart literally stopped when the words “bacon grease” were read. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

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Kristin @ Cook, Bake, Nibble November 23, 2010 at 9:16 am

I am the opposite- cooking resonates with me MUCH more than baking! But I love to bake as well, I’m just not as good at it!

This risotto looks awesome!

xo

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Charles November 23, 2010 at 9:39 am

All I need is a shallot, and for the kiddo to let me stir for as long as it takes.

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Suzanne de Cornelia November 23, 2010 at 9:47 am

Looks & sounds delish, if had all the ingredients on hand would be whipping up as well. I do like chopping & stirring. Very grounding as well as meditative. Am an on-the-fly natural cook as well like my mom. Her food was legendary~ healthy, colorful & relished by all. ‘Moms’ :)

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Taysa November 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

Risotto is considered my specialty and I consider it the most relaxing food to make. I keep the tiny bottles of white wine in the fridge for cooking, use about 1/2 on the rice before adding the stock, and then drink the rest. :) Turns out perfect every time!

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kate November 23, 2010 at 10:11 am

I have all the ingredients sitting at home for risotto Ive just been to shy to take the leap!

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Marg November 23, 2010 at 10:28 am

It’s on my cooking list of things to make!

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Laurab @foodsnobstl November 23, 2010 at 10:30 am

Where is the butter? I always make it with lots of butter. Maybe i will try it without next time!

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Liz @ IHeartVegetables November 23, 2010 at 10:45 am

I’ve heard risotto is really hard to make, so it’s always intimidated me! I’m not a big mushroom fan but I could probably sub in some other veggies :)

It looks really tasty! Maybe I’ll have to get brave and try it ;)

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Natalia - a side of simple November 23, 2010 at 11:20 am

If stirring counts as yoga in the kitchen, I believe I will equate this to my workout for today :)

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jenna November 23, 2010 at 11:32 am

love!

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pip November 23, 2010 at 11:26 am

what if you have a vegan who says she cant eat it because of the broth being chicken or beef? Is there a substitute? Also a young person who has not been exposed to the alchohol what can you recommend for cooking to season and taste? if not water, wine or broth then what? looks yummy and look for meatless receipes constantly. will use the original reciepe to serve with some sausages for my two sons! mmm thxs

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jenna November 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

I mentioned in the recipe that vegetable stock would also work very well :) And you don’t have to use wine—I didn’t.

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nicole November 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm

you can still use the wine. the actual alcohol will evaporate on heating, and all that will remain are the flavor oils from the wine. alcoholics can even TECHNICALLY eat things that have been cooked in alcohol, though that is probably not good for psychological purposes.

–your friendly chemist reader

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Britt @ Runnerbelle November 23, 2010 at 11:42 am

Risotto is one of the few things I feel pretty confident making…. but it helps that I took a cooking class just on making risotto! I actually made a parmesan risotto the other night as a side, came out so good if I do say so myself.

I agree with a previous comment, I usually warm my chicken stock on the side (and was taught this way) and add it warm rather than room temperature.

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Kristin November 23, 2010 at 11:53 am

I’m more like your Mom when I cook, I like to throw things in and end up with something a little different, but I love making risotto because it’s always the same. Always creamy, always absolutely perfect. I, like you, also love the process of making risotto. I turn on mellow music (like Ray LaMontagne) and stir and stir. It really is like yoga in the kitchen. :)

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Amber K November 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I have never had risotta before, but it looks amazing. I might have to con my husband into the stirring though. That sounds like the least fun thing in the world to me!

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Kate November 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm

At the risk of sounding like an idiot…I’m confused by the amount of stock you’ve written in the recipe… 4-4 1/2 cups? Is that a typo? Did you mean just 4 and 1/2 cups?

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jenna November 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm

sorry it wasn’t clear! I meant 4 to 4 1/2 cups of stock..you might need 4 or you might need 4 1/2. It varies!

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Kate November 24, 2010 at 5:40 am

Gracias :) I look forward to making it!!

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laurie November 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Is your orange pot a 3 qt size? I have a 6 qt dutch oven but am thinking a 3 qt size would be very useful.

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marie November 23, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I love making risotto!!!! I love it because a) it gives me the perfect reason to be completely OCD and not feel bad about it. You HAVE to stir constantly right?! b) I drink wine while I stir. This can be quite dangerous by the end of the process but oh so fantastic! :)

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Angela (the diet book junkie) November 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm

haha….i’m not a baker, or a chef. but this looks easily enough. thanks for sharing! :)

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Katelynn November 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm

God, I love mushroom risotto. One of my favorite dishes as well.

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Lacey @ Lake Life November 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Your risotto looks amazing!

I share the opposite philosophy- I’m not a baker because the ingredients ARE so precise!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I’m the same way! I’m always amazed at how my dad can whip up a fantastic gourmet meal without even using a recipe. When I’m in the kitchen, I NEED a recipe with detailed instructions or else something will definitely go wrong. :P

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Ahn Ei November 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Oh wow! I’m not a huge mushroom fan and I would still love to have this!! :)

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Hilary November 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Fun post series idea: the key to his heart (dinner meals)

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Imwaytoobusy November 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm

The perfect comfort food? I believe it!

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Megan November 23, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I cook the way your mom cooks. I don’t do recipes and when someone asks me for a recipe for something that I cooked I will often give them a blank look. There never is a recipe and measurements are not my forte.

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Cathy November 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Oh my goodness! This was amazing…we made it for dinner tonight! It’s definitely going on the menu for our sibling Christmas dinner. The only question is, what to make as the main dish? Any suggestions? We had tuna steaks with it tonight and chicken seems a little blah for a Christmas dinner.

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jenna November 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Duck, chicken or pork! Duck is wonderful..but baked chicken breasts or pork chops would be yummy, too :)

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Cathy November 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Thanks for the recommendation! We might go with duck breasts.

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Kath November 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I cook like your mom :) I hate measuring!

Love the onion-y shout out :)

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Laura (Starloz) November 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

im obsessed with rice & this sounds yummy!

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Ellie November 24, 2010 at 3:26 am

Roasted butternut squash and sage risotto, made with a glass of white wine, and a good two tablespoons of parmesan + a knob of butter melted in at the end. All whipped up in my own beautiful orange le creuset. When I make this dish, I see myself in 15 years making it for my own family. It’s a dish to bond over. From chopping the onions, to stirring the rice, to eating it with the rest of the crisp white wine at the dinner table. Love and comfort!!

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Kristy November 24, 2010 at 4:32 am

Yes! Yes! Yes! I am much more secure BAKING! I enjoy cooking but I’m not cool enough to cook like your mom! :-)

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Anne November 24, 2010 at 5:01 am

I did your risotto last night, it was great ! I have a feeling it will become a classic. Thanks from Montreal ;-)

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Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather November 24, 2010 at 5:34 am

Yum risotto is something I love to eat but never make at home. I agree – baking is so much more exact but I don’t like to follow directions very often so cooking usually turns out better than baking :)

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Lindsay November 24, 2010 at 7:09 am

I like to mice garlic with the shallot. Sparkling wine also makes an awesome substitution for white! Truffle oil drizzled on top at the end never hurt anyone either!

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Heather November 24, 2010 at 7:40 am

I’m the exact same with my mom in the kitchen! I always want exact measurements, but she just “eyeballs” it! I always ask how I’m going to be able to carry on the family recipes without measurements and she assures me I’ll just know :)

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Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen November 24, 2010 at 8:05 am

This looks incredible. I only tried making risotto once in the past…and I think I had too many things going on in it, and it was just too rich. However, there’s this truffle risotto at a local restaurant that I would love to be able to recreate!

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Dana November 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I love risotto and make it quite often…with mushrooms. My secret is to add a smidge of truffle oil at the end (after you’ve added the cheese). Sooooo good!!!!

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Dee November 24, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Oh wow. This looks delicious!

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Kelsey November 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I’ve never made real risotto, I’d love to try this.

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Melissa November 30, 2010 at 6:10 pm

WOW!! I made this tonight and it did not disappoint! Jenna, you have done it again.

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amanda December 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm

yum. super impressive and tasty. so glad i made this for lunch, thanks for sharing!

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Hattie December 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

I’m considering making this for a holiday party but would need to double the recipe. I always worry about doubling recipes – sometimes they just don’t turn out as well as the original version. Have you ever doubled this recipe with good results?

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Katy January 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

Im currently eating this right now and I’m in love! Thank you so much for the recipe!

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Molly March 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Two hours later and this still has a bite to it. And it’s almost impossible to type this, wonder if I can even pick up a fork after all that stirring?

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Vanessa @ Project Zen July 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Jenna, I just came back from the beach and had a fantastic salmon dish on the bay that served risotto on the side. It was my first time trying risotto and I loved it! Honestly, if I probably couldn’t dream up a meal in my sleep that would taste that good….well, I probably could but I would need a recipe to get the steps down pat.

that said I like trying to re-create favorite dishes or side dishes that I enjoyed at a restaurant and I’m so glad you could come to my rescue with an easy to make risotto! I’m sure it’s easy to goof up and I, for one, would have probably made it with water the first time if you didn’t stop me! (sometimes, I just don’t have veggie stock in the pantry!)

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Amber March 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Wow. Just finished making this. AWESOME. Took me about an hour to do all that stirring, but it was worth it!

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Sam M. March 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm

This is such a great recepie! This was my first time making risotto and it was easy and fun to read; thank you so much! :)

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Kimberley April 4, 2012 at 2:39 am

Great recipe! I’ve been meaning to make a risotto for such a long time – I was so pleased I came across your recipe.

It was a great success and I am looking forward to impressing my friend with it tonight :) – I will be adding bacon and asparagus on the side.

Thanks!

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Camara July 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I just made this and am waiting for my boyfriend to get home from work to eat it. Of course I had to sample and oh my goodness it is good! But, I’m thinking it’s going to be a bit thick. Do you suggest a way to thin it out a bit?

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Ashley June 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I used this recipe with my own twist and I did add wine, it was very good I must thank you for your help and easy instructions.

I hope my boyfriend thinks its as good as I do since I made it specially for him. (His favorite meal.)

Thanks again.

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