I've had a lot of risottos in my lifetime. As a child going out for family dinners, whenever risotto was on the menu, I had to order it. The rest of the menu items would simply become obsolete to me. My family dreaded it, since risotto's cooking time would delay all the other entrees, but the risotto was always the winning dish. Combining my two favorite foods, this recipe balances the earthy flavor of mushrooms with the creamy and salty flavor of cheese. Not a mushroom-lover? This simple recipe can be adapted, so feel free to add protein like chicken or seafood or add another vegetable.

Don't be daunted; risotto may seem complicated, but in just over 1 hour of food preparation and cooking time, you can make this decadent Italian dish.

Seasonal Twists

With such a simple classic recipe, there are a variety of ways to spice up the risotto to make you stomach sing. 

In the Autumn consider adding some pumpkin or butternut squash chunks. These add warmth and texture that will keep you coming back. Top the dish with some roasted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, etc.) for a crunch, and you have a winner! For a more specific butternut squash risotto, check out this recipe!

In the summer months, a seafood or shellfish risotto would hit the spot! Take out the heavy hand on the cheese and instead add lemon juice, corn, and cherry tomatoes to get a light and citrusy risotto perfect for the summer months.  

In the winter, a heavier risotto to keep you warm is definitely going to be on my stovetop. Adding some cooked spinach, eggplant and/or mushrooms into the risotto add a heartiness and bring exciting new flavors to a winter variation of this classic. Add a protein like grilled shrimp or chicken to finish it off. Want some more specifics, check out this recipe with a more detailed spinach and mushroom risotto. 

To finish off the four seasons, a spring risotto option could be chicken, asparagus, and peas. The brightness of the these flavors bring all the spring fun. 

Base Recipe Risotto

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr
  • Total Time:1 hr 20 mins
  • Servings:8
  • Medium


  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups short grain rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
Sam Tobin
  • Step 1

    Start by prepping the onion as well as any seasonal additions you plan on adding to this risotto.

    In this version, we decided to add mushrooms to make a more winter themed risotto.

    Sam Tobin
  • Step 2

    Begin warming chicken broth on low on the back burner for a later step.

  • Step 3

    Begin cooking the onion until it is about half way to translucent in some butter and olive oil

  • Step 4

    Then, add the rice and cook it on high for a few minutes until it begins popping.

    Sam Tobin
  • Step 5

    Then add the white wine. The rice should absorb the wine and keep the heat high until the rice absorbs the liquid.

  • Step 6

    If you want to stop for advance prep, this is the point to take everything off the heat. If you want to advance prep, do not heat the broth. Instead, heat the broth right before you want to resume preparation for the risotto. Stopping here can allow for faster prep for parties and other large events.

  • Step 7

    Lower the heat and begin adding the warm broth until the rice is covered.

    Sam Tobin
  • Step 8

    Simmer the broth with the rice and continue adding broth in small increments every time the rice almost completely absorbs the broth.

  • Step 9

    Continue adding broth until the rice is cooked all the way through. In my personal opinion, the best way to test this is to get a spoon and try a grain of rice or two to see if it is cooked.

    Sam Tobin
  • Step 10

    At this point, you can pull the risotto off the stove and cheese or pre-prepared seasonal ingredients such as vegetables or protein.

    Sam Tobin
  • Step 11

    Congratulations! You have completed risotto!

    Sam Tobin