Basic Risotto

John is a dear friend who has a passion for cooking as I do. He prepared the following risotto for our Foodie Films Italian luncheon. The recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated and it came out perfectly! You can adapt this recipe by adding your choice of vegetables and other add ins.

Basic Risotto
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peels & sliced
2-4 ounces pancetta
2 cups arborio rice, or medium grain rice
1 can low sodium chicken broth, combined with 3 cups of water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or grated Asiago, plus extra for passing

Heat oil in a heavy pot, 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Add onions and ham; sauté, stirring occastionally, until onions soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in rice and 1 teaspoon salt or to taste. Add 3 cups of the broth/water mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until pan bottom is dry when rice is pulled back with spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add wine, stirring frequently until absorbed. Then add 1/2 cup of the broth/water mixture at a time, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed; cook until rice is creamy but still somewhat firm in center (add more water in 1/2 cup increments if broth/water mixture runs out), 10 to 12 minutes longer.
Stir in cheese. Serve on a wide platter or individual plates with additional cheese passed separately.


  1. Risotto is one of my favorite things to cook - made it twice this week! I love how versatile it is.

  2. I think I may have to break my risotto "cherry" and try this recipe.