College Cooking: Rissoto

Photo Credit: Eliot Gentiluomo

Risotto might sound like a very intimidating and complex dish to make, but in reality it is surprisingly easy. It does take a lot of time to make, but it’s well worth it. Plus, you get a really good arm workout from it, too!

The secret to good risotto is to constantly stir the pot. This will ensure that no risotto gets stuck to the bottom and burns. When adding in the water, stir constantly to ensure no parts of the risotto cook differently than the rest of the pot.

For the pot itself, I advise using one with a really wide base. This will help when cooking the onions as well as it helps to ensure an even coating of oil on the rice. That is an important step, the oil helps the rice cook more evenly and helps the water absorb into the rice in an even way.

Yes, this recipe does include wine. Most, if not all, of the alcohol will have been cooked off by the time it is complete. If you are still concerned you can use white cooking wine, which has less alcohol by volume. If you are not comfortable using wine at all, you can substitute it for chicken or vegetable stock, but just be aware that it will taste slightly different. This is also true depending on which white wine you choose to use, as it does affect the flavor of the risotto.


  • 6 tablespoons Olive oil
  • ½ large white or yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine (drinking or cooking wine is ok)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium pot, heat about 10 cups of water mixed with about 1 tablespoons salt until it’s simmering. 

2. Once simmered, turn down to low to keep water warm throughout the cooking process. All of the water needed will come out of this pot of warm water.

3. In a medium-large pot, heat about 6 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat.

4. Once heated, add in the finely chopped onion and a pinch of salt.

5. Stir occasionally until the onion turns translucent and becomes soft. At that point, add about ½ cup of water and stir until all of the water has evaporated and the onions are sizzling in oil again.

6. Pour in the rice and stir to coat all of the rice in oil. Stir constantly until the edges of the rice start to become translucent and make a clattering sound on the bottom and sides of the pan.

7. At this point, add in the wine and lower the heat to a low simmer. Stir until all of the liquid has evaporated.

8. Start pouring in the warm salted water to the rice in about ½ to 1 cup increments. Each time letting the water fully absorb before adding more water to the pot, about 2-3 minutes.

9. Continue until the rice is andante and there is still some liquid surrounding, this should take a total of about 30 minutes.

10. Once the rice is andante, remove from heat and add in the butter and grated parmesan. More warm salted water may be needed to achieve the right consistency. It should be thick and creamy but not too thin.

Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste.

11. Plate and enjoy!