How to Make the Perfect Risotto

Risotto is one of my absolute favorite dishes to make. It is so versatile, and once you get the process down, it is a breeze to make! I love risotto because there are so many ways to flavor it, but it always tastes fantastic.

When I saw this baby at the Farmer’s Market last weekend, I couldn’t pass it up. The first pumpkin of the season? Yes, please!

How To Make the Perfect Risotto

Start with 7 cups of stock. Chicken, beef, vegetable, whatever you would like. Choose based on the risotto flavor you are going for and your dietary preferences.

Savvy Tip: If you are short on stock, you can replace up to half with water.

Warm the stock over the stove. You may feel like all this step is doing is creating another dish for you to wash later, but it isn’t, I promise! Warm stock will allow the risotto to cook more quickly and evenly, because the rice will remain at a constant temperature. If cold stock is added, each time you add more, you will have to wait for it to heat up before it is absorbed.In a large stock pot, heat 3 T olive oil over medium high on the stove. Add 1 chopped onion and 2-3 cloves garlic, minced. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.

Onion and Garlic

Add 2 cups of chopped vegetables of your choosing, and cook until soft. This will usually take 4-8 minutes, with the exception of winter squash, which will take longer.

Savvy Tip: Fresh herbs and delicate veggies such as asparagus and spinach are best added at the end of cooking!


Add 1 1/2 c. Arborio rice and 1/2 c. white wine. Stir until the wine is reduced to merely a glaze on the bottom of the pan.

Savvy Tip: “Reduce to a glaze” simply means allowing the wine to cook down to there is only a thin layer on rice and pot.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the stock to the rice, 1/2 c at a time. Stir regularly until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding the next half cup.


Savvy Tip: The key to good risotto is to stir often and regularly. Make sure you keep the rice from sticking to the sides or bottom of the pot. A lot of recipes say you need to stir constantly, but I don’t necessarily think this is true.

Savvy Tip: When I make this with pumpkin or butternut squash, I like to use the back of the spoon to smash the smaller pieces as I serve. It makes the risotto extra creamy!

You may not use all the stock, but that’s okay. Keep adding until the rice is soft and opaque. Taste a few grains to make sure it is done!

Savvy Tip: Those fragile veggies and fresh herbs I mentioned? Add them in the last 10 minutes of cooking the rice!

Remove from heat and stir in 2 T butter and 4 T grated Parmesan or Asiago. Serve and enjoy!

Pumpkin Risotto

7 c of vegetable stock
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c chopped pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1/2 c white wine
2 T butter
4 T grated Parmesan

In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the pumpkin and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes. In the meantime, heat the stock over medium-low heat.

Add the rice and wine. Stir until the wine is reduced to a glaze. Add the cinnamon.

In half-cup increments, add the stock. After each addition, stir until the liquid is absorbed into the rice before adding more stock. Once the rice is soft and opaque, remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the cheese and butter, and serve immediately.


Some other favorite flavor combos:

  • Sweet Pea & Lemon. The peas are considered a “fragile veggie” that should be added at the end!
  • Butternut Squash (one of my favorites, because it comes out like mac & cheese!).
  • Roasted Red Pepper.
  • Sweet Corn + Cherry Tomato. The tomatoes are considered a “fragile veggie” that should be added at the end!


  1. says

    Yea, your first pumpkin is the first one I’ve seen. I adore that orange delicious thing.

    Pumpkin Risotto is stuff I’ve only seen on the Food Network. Way to kick your cooking up a notch!

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      Pumpkin is a fantastic ingredient, and I still have some left — keep an eye out for more savory pumpkin recipes around here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. says

    Mmmmm… Risotto. Definitely near the top of my “I wish I could live off of this food” list :) I can’t wait to try your recipe & the variations!

    … Actually I have a couple Savvy Recipes that I’ve saved and need to try ASAP (i.e.: MUST re-create the Savvy scones, peach butter and now the risotto). Good thing it’s almost Fall (something about cooler temperatures and spending the day in a warm kitchen just seems so “right” to me…)– I need to get cracking…. :)

  3. says

    I’ve been dreaming of making risotto lately. I adore mushroom risotto. For me, it’s about making myself slow down. It isn’t a fast process. You can’t rush it. I both love/hate that. Thanks for reminding me I need to make it! The idea of pumpkin risotto is awesome!

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I love, love, love this comment! It is so true. You can’t rush risotto. Too often, I try to multitask when I make risotto, which I’ve been really cutting back on. I love the smell of the wine cooking when you add it, and seeing the creaminess of the rice as it cooks. If I multitask, I miss those things!

  4. says

    Risotto is one of my favorites – the creaminess makes it seem like such an indulgent treat without all the guilt of eating something truly creamy and high in fat.

    Although, I have been known to form leftover, cold risotto into balls, coat them in breadcrumbs, and deep fry….now THAT’s an indulgent (and rare :) treat.

    Really like the suggestion of the sweet corn and tomato…mmmm!

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