Risotto is such a wonderful dish. So versatile, easy to make, and relatively cheap too – depending on which ingredients you use. The basic risotto recipe is relatively simple, but once mastered, it can be elevated in so many ways: colourful vegetables, cheeses, meats, herbs or crispy breadcrumbs for texture – the possibilities are endless.

A traditional Italian Milanese recipe uses arborio rice, garlic, onion, a homemade stock, lots of butter, a generous grating of parmesan, and a splash of white wine for good measure. The result should be a creamy, luxurious dish, with the grains of rice cooked through, though still holding a little bite.

Classic recipe mastered, it’s time to get creative, and the winter months are perfect as you can use seasonal ingredients like squash and pumpkin, or wild mushrooms. But there’s nothing to stop you from using peas, asparagus or even seafood, for something a little lighter.

With dietary requirements always changing, it’s a good idea to make one of your risotto dishes vegan, using a plant-based butter, cream and cheese – what used to be quite the challenge is now really rather simple, thanks to recent innovative products.

If you’re putting together your winter menu, why not consider featuring some of these delicious warming risotto recipes – they’re the perfect dish to lure in your customers on a cold winter’s day.

Wild Mushroom Truffe

WILD MUSHROOM AND TRUFFLE RISOTTO

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500g of assorted fresh mushrooms, roughly cut into chunks (shiitake, oyster, chestnut)
  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 250g of Arborio risotto rice
  • 100ml of white wine
  • 750ml of vegetable stock, plus more if needed
  • Olive oil
  • 50g of Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
  • Truffle oil / and or fresh truffle
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Melt 50g of the butter into the large frying pan, then add the finely chopped shallot and garlic, and cook until soft.
  2. Stir in the rice and cook until transparent.
  3. Add the wine and stir well
  4. Now start to add your stock, a little at a time. The recipe calls for veg but you could use chicken if you wanted. Continue to add and stir until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked – if more cooking is required, add more stock or water.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper, and the remaining 50g butter.
  6. Stir in the parmesan cheese and about a tablespoon of truffle oil.
  7. Serve and top with a drizzle of truffle oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Prawn and Asparagus

ASPARAGUS AND PRAWN RISOTTO

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 250g risotto rice
  • 2 packs of raw king prawns (roughly 165g each)
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 large stalk of celery, finely sliced
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 200g asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 lemons (one zested and juiced)
  • 750ml of vegetable or fish stock, plus more if needed
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 20g parmesan
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Serve with: Fennel and rocket salad

  • 1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (roughly 200g)
  • 40g rocket
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 

Method:

  1. In a large pan, add a tbsp of oil, followed by the finely diced onion and celery. Sweat for 1-2 minutes and then add the garlic.
  2. Now add your rice and fry lightly for a minute until translucent, before adding the white wine.
  3. Lightly simmer this for a further minute, to cook out the alcohol and then add in your stock, a bit at a time, stirring as you do.
  4. Continue to add your stock slowly, and once you’ve used up 2/3 of it, add in the chopped asparagus, followed by the rest of the stock.
  5. While the rice still has some bite, (about 3 minutes before serving) add in the prawns so that they cook through.
  6. You can now add in the zest and juice of 1 lemon (save the other half to squeeze over afterwards), as well as the butter and parmesan.
  7. Season well, top with fresh parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon and the fennel and rocket salad – make this by combining the rocket and sliced fennel, and drizzle with olive oil.
Chicken & Pea

CHICKEN AND PEA RISOTTO

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or finely grated
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 750ml of vegetable or chicken stock, plus more if needed
  • 2 chicken breasts/chicken thighs – cooked and shredded
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 20g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

Method:

  1. In a large pan, add a tbsp of oil, followed by the finely diced onion and garlic. Sweat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Now add your rice and fry lightly for a minute until translucent, before adding the white wine.
  3. Lightly simmer this for a further minute, to cook out the alcohol and then add in your stock, a bit at a time, stirring as you do.
  4. Stir through the chicken, thyme and peas, then cook for 2 mins or until the chicken is warmed through.
  5. Add the crème fraîche and parmesan, and season to taste.
  6. Serve with an extra dusting of parmesan.
Squash, apple and parmesan

SQUASH, APPLE AND PARMESAN RISOTTO

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 100g butter
  • 2 cups fall squash such as butternut squash or pumpkin
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1 medium apple peeled, seeded, diced or grated
  • 250g arborio rice
  • 750ml of vegetable stock, plus more if needed
  • 50g parmesan finely grated
  • ¾ teaspoon dried sage crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Method:

  1. Prepare your squash by peeling and dicing it into chunks, roasting until cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, add half the butter to a large frying pan, then add the finely chopped shallot, garlic, and apple, and cook until soft.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook until transparent.
  4. Add the wine and stir well.
  5. Now begin to add your stock, a little at a time.
  6. Continue to add and stir until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked – if more cooking is required, add more stock or water.
  7. After about 20 minutes of cooking time (almost cooked) stir in the diced squash, and sage, and season to taste.
  8. Just before it’s ready, add the parmesan and rest of the butter.
  9. Serve with freshly chopped parsley, either alone or as a side to pork chops or chicken.
Artichokes Bacon

ARTICHOKE AND BACON RISOTTO

Ingredients:

  • 250g risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 1 can of cooked artichokes
  • 6 rashes of bacon or speck
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 750ml of vegetable stock, plus more if needed
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 20g parmesan
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Method:

  1. Begin by frying off your bacon or speck until crisp, then set aside (on a tea towel to catch fat).
  2. In a large pan, add a tbsp of oil, followed by the finely diced onion and garlic. Sweat for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Now add your rice and fry lightly for a minute until translucent, before adding the white wine.
  4. Lightly simmer this for a further minute, to cook out the alcohol and then add in your stock, a bit at a time, stirring as you do.
  5. Stir through the artichokes, chopped, and cook for 2 mins or until warmed through.
  6. Add the juice of a lemon, the parmesan, and season to taste.
  7. Serve with extra parmesan and crumble over the crisp bacon.
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