The Only Risotto Recipe You'll Ever Need With Wine Pairings (2024)

The Only Risotto Recipe You'll Ever Need With Wine Pairings (1)

The Only Risotto Recipe You'll Ever Need With Wine Pairings (2)

Risotto has got to be the quintessential food for cooking with wine. Like us humans, this dish simply cannot thrive without wine; it is that perfect ingredient that makes the dish just sing.

Risotto comes from Italy;risomeans “rice” in Italian. Rice was originally brought to the Mediterranean by the Saracens – Arab merchants who came to Italy in the Middle Ages to trade. By 1475, the Duke of Ferrara waswriting letterslooking for 12 sacks of rice for a big dinner party.

The Italians grew short-grain rice, which has a lot more starch than its long-grain counterpart. That starch is what makes risotto special; as the rice cooks in liquid, it releases that starch into the cooking fluids, turning them into a creamy substance. That’s really what lends the dish its richness.

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My winter risotto with roasted fennel and parsnips is a bowl of comfort on a cold day. The veggies make it extra hearty and give it some play on textures, which I always love. You can certainly add Parmesan cheese or goat cheese if you’re a little more adventurous, but I decided to go dairy-free with this one. Why not go the healthy route for January, right? The dish is almost as creamy without it.


Making risotto is a lot less intimidating than you might think. You’ll need:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice
  • Parsley
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Put 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced, in an oven-safe dish. In a separate dish, put 2 fennel bulbs, cored and sliced into thin strips. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste to both dishes, and put them in the oven. Roast at 425 degrees. The parsnips will cook faster than the fennel, which is why I like to put them in separate pans. The parsnips should be soft after about 10 minutes, and the fennel will need about 20.

Next, mince an onion and put it in a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the onion on medium heat until translucent. When the onions are translucent, add one and half cups of arborio rice. It is important to use short grain rice so that it will actually turn into risotto. Season with salt and pepper. Here’s a tip: I like to build up the flavor by seasoning at every step, rather than just at the end. This way when the dish comes together, the flavor has depth, plus a little something extra.

Stir the rice in the onions and oil until it becomes translucent around the edges. Then add half a cup of nice dry white wine. We have some recommendations below, but most importantly, make sure it’s a wine you would enjoy drinking — I don’t like cooking with a wine I wouldn’t drink. When the wine has cooked off, add half a cup of chicken stock. Stir occasionally, keeping an eye on the pan as the liquids cook off. When the liquid is absorbed by the rice, add another half-cup of chicken stock, stirring until that, too, is incorporated. Keep doing this until the risotto is done. You’ll know it’s done because there wont be anymore white kernel in the center of each rice kernel, but they wont be mushy, either. It takes about 3 cups of stock.It’s definitely a high-maintenance dish, but it isn’t difficult. If you add too much liquid, just wait a little longer; if you add too little, just add more sooner. Make sure to taste it frequently, too, so you don’t overcook it – it’s hard to come back from that.

When the rice is done, add your roasted veggies, some chopped parsley, and the cheese of your choice if you’re going that route. Serve immediately.

Wine Recommendations

Now for the wine. You’re going to want to go light and crisp withfennel and parsnips. Since this recipe doesn’t call for butter and cheese, the risotto is going to be on the lighter side. A fuller-bodied white might be too heavy for the dish, though if you’re adding cheese, you could venture out in that direction.

I’d recommendyou go with a Soave, both for making the risotto and for enjoying alongside the finished dish. From the Veneto region of Italy, this white wine goes perfectly with a crisp risotto. I’m going to recommend a bottle that actually isn’t labeled Soave, because winemaker Roberto Anselmi doesn’t agree with the rules of the DOC, but it’s a Soave nonetheless. You can’t go wrong withAnselmi; at an average price of $16, it’s reasonable enough to cook with, but still absolutely delicious enough to drink with your dish.

But once you’re done making your dish, you may find yourself wanting something a little more festive for sitting down to eat it. Light bubbles would also bea perfect pairing here. I’drecommend you stick with Italy here, but instead of Prosecco, go for a bottle of Ferrari sparkling wine. At $25, this bottle is still reasonable enough for a weeknight, and it will elevate your dinner.

Finally, Roero Arneis from the region of Piedmont in northern Italyisfruity and smooth,an ideal pairing with the parsnips and fennel. This one has an average price of $24, so you may want to saveit for dinner and cook with the Soave.

Published: January 13, 2017

The Only Risotto Recipe You'll Ever Need With Wine Pairings (2024)


What is a good wine pairing with risotto? ›

Pairing Risotto Dishes with Great Wine
  • Classic Parmesan Risotto with Chardonnay. ...
  • Mushroom Risotto with Barolo. ...
  • Saffron Risotto with Amarone. ...
  • Beet Risotto with Pinot Noir. ...
  • Lemon Asparagus Risotto with Sauvignon Blanc. ...
  • Pumpkin Risotto with Viognier. ...
  • Spinach and Blue Cheese Risotto with Cabernet Sauvignon.

What is the best white wine for risotto? ›

The best white wine for cooking risotto is a crisp, dry white wine. Select moderately priced white wines like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or good quality Marsala wine. A good white wine will increase the depth and flavor of your risotto alongside the ingredients you're pairing together.

When should you add wine to risotto? ›

When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat. The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring – it will smell fantastic.

What can you substitute for red wine in risotto? ›

Try adding sherry vinegar for mushroom risotto, white or red wine vinegar in place of white or red wine, or even rice or apple cider vinegar to boost the taste in asparagus risotto. Just be sure not to overdo it. A little vinegar goes a long way — remember, you're looking for balance, not a sour, overpowering tang.

What is Gordon Ramsay's recipe for risotto? ›

  1. 1 large shallot, chopped finely.
  2. 4 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced.
  4. 10 ounces arborio rice.
  5. 12 cup dry white wine.
  6. 4 cups low sodium chicken broth.
  7. 8 ounces plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely chopped.
  8. 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped.

Is risotto better with wine? ›

Talking about wine matches for risotto is a bit like talking about wine with pasta - it's depends on the other ingredients you use, not the rice. That said it's usually a delicate, creamy sort of dish which is served among the primi (first courses) on an Italian menu and generally suits a white better than a red.

What white wine does Gordon Ramsay use in risotto? ›

Ingredients: 8 cups chicken stock (measure this!) 2 cups Arborio rice. 1 cup white wine (we used Moscato- but a dry white wine would be great!)

Is Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc better for risotto? ›

But you need only a glass and the bonus is that you can drink the rest with the risotto. ' In general, Dryer advises trying a crisp, dry, unoaked white wine. 'Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are the two I would reach for first, and unoaked Chardonnay is fine.

Can I skip white wine in risotto? ›

Simply leave out the wine. It's not essential. What is essential for a good risotto is good stock. A risotto should taste more of the broth it's cooked in than wine so just carry on as usual and keep the wine to drink.

Why do you put vinegar in risotto? ›

Add a teaspoon of vinegar (apple cider or white vinegar both work) to the cooking liquid of your pot of rice. The acid of the vinegar is thought to break down more of the starches inside the rice, helping each grain of rice absorb more liquid. What are the ingredients of risotto?

Why do you put alcohol in risotto? ›

Nigella's Cheddar Cheese Risotto (from Nigella Express), like many risottos, uses white wine in the early stages for additional flavour. The wine is usually added first as the wine will reduce very substantially, meaning that most of the alcohol evaporates and leaves just the more subtle flavours of the wine.

Why does my risotto taste like wine? ›

You used only wine and no broth? That's not fixable. There's probably no fix at this stage. Wine needs cooking off at a high temperature to taste good in food.

Can I use balsamic vinegar instead of wine in risotto? ›

One thing to consider: balsamic is quite high in sugar, so don't wait too long before you start adding broth, or it will stick to the pan. It should work fine, and be quite good. I'd go easy on it, though, as it has more flavor and acid than white wine. Try cutting it 50/50 with water or some of your stock.

Can you use apple cider vinegar instead of white wine in risotto? ›

Apple Cider Vinegar

This pantry staple is a great substitute for white wine because it has similar levels of acidity, not to mention a sweet and tangy flavor. However, using too much can make your dish overly sour and pungent, so dilute it with equal parts water and incorporate it into your dish slowly.

Can I use rice vinegar instead of white wine in risotto? ›

I would not use any vinegar. You will not want the sour taste that vinegar will leave. You will have a better final result if you just omit the wine. If you feel like it needs a little acidity at the end add a light squeeze of lemon (or even a couple of drops of vinegar).

What drink goes well with risotto? ›

'Personally, for me it's fantastic if is served with Parmesan cheese and mushroom with an aged white like Riesling, Grüner Veltiner, Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay. ' 'These styles of wines get white truffles aromas and a very earthy quality too. 'If you're feeling adventurous, even an oxidative style or orange wine.

Do you serve anything with risotto? ›

Starter: Italians typically serve risotto as a primo piatto (starter) without veggies or sides. Serve risotto as the starter, followed by a plant-based main course, such as vegan pasta or any of these dinner ideas. Main meal: Serve risotto for dinner by pairing it with an easy side salad, arugula salad, or pear salad.

Does Pinot Noir go with risotto? ›

Wine and Risotto Pairings

Richer and more savoury risottos (mushroom or chicken for example) present an exciting opportunity to pair with either a fuller, earthier white wine (try our Babylonstoren Chardonnay) or red wine such as Pinot Noir or Kekfrankos.


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