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Category: Fall, First Courses, Spring, Vegetarian

Servings: 6


The best types of rice for making risotto are: Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone nano. These have round grains and are starchy, becoming creamy when cooked, unlike varieties such as basmati or long-grained rice whose grains remain separate.


  • 5 or 6 medium artichokes (or other vegetables, see note below)
  • 300 g (1 1/2 cups) risotto rice (see below)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Vegetable stock (onion, carrot, celery, stock cube)
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic, squashed to release their flavour
  • A splash of white wine
  • Olive oil
  • A knob of butter
  • Parmesan cheese – around half a cup


  1. Prepare around 2 pints of vegetable stock by boiling water with a stock cube, a peeled onion, a couple of sticks of celery and a couple of peeled carrots, cut into large pieces. Keep this always hot, and boil extra water just in case you need more liquid.
  2. Prepare the artichokes by removing the tough outer leaves, paring the stalks and cutting so that you have a cone shape at the tip of the artichoke. Cut in half, remove the hairy choke if there is one and reserve the artichoke halves in a bowl of water with lemon juice squeezed into it to prevent blackening. When the artichokes are all trimmed, cut them into small (half cm/quarter inch) pieces.
  3. Heat a swish of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed high-sided frying pan (skillet).
  4. Add the onion and sauté until this is translucent. Then add the artichoke pieces, the bay leaves and the garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes, until the artichoke is tender.
  5. Add the rice and sauté for several minutes, until it becomes translucent.
  6. Add the white wine and stir in, letting it evaporate.
  7. Begin adding the hot stock, a ladle at a time, stirring well and letting the liquid evaporate before you add another ladleful of it. Add salt and pepper.
  8. Begin tasting the rice when it has been cooking for around 15 minutes. When it seems cooked but still firm to the bite (“al dente”), switch off the heat. Add the butter and cheese, stir well and cover.
  9. Let the risotto sit for a couple of minutes before you serve it.


You can substitute the artichokes with practically any vegetable that will stand cooking for 20 minutes or more and not get mushy and overcooked – NOT broccoli etc. Asparagus, wild mushrooms, squash, peas and radicchio all work well. If using asparagus, cut off the tips and reserve. Add these tips a minute before you finish cooking the risotto to keep them crunchy. Rough guide to quantities: a cup (150g/ 5oz) of vegetables per person.


3 replies
  1. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    A couple of things: Italian risotto is never, repeat never, al dente. The texture in fact should be almost “soupy,” and it takes much more than 15 minutes. Also, please do not use broth cubes of any kind, it is mostly sodium. If you can’t prepare homemade broth, buy some of the quite acceptable boxed ones.

  2. Riccardo
    Riccardo says:

    In Italy we always cook risotto al dente, with the rice still offering resistance to the bite. In northern Italy the overall texture of it is more fluid, or as they say all’onda (it means wavy but definitely not “soupy”) whereas in Tuscany we prefer it more creamy. Cooking times varies according to the kind of rice but is usually around 15-20 minutes. (18-20 minutes for Carnaroli and 16-17 minutes for Arborio, for instance) and risotto should be eaten at once otherwise it will become too dry and soft. We always use organic vegetable bouillon in our stock, that has no salt added (salt is 0,5%).

  3. Julie
    Julie says:

    Duuuuuuuude. This risotto is the bomb. I was making it as an experiment–I want to get more into cooking and this recipe is similar to one in a favorite book of mine. It turned out MUCH better than I expected, especially for my first time. Excelllent.

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