Risotto Rut, need recs!
May 9, 2022 1:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the mood to make some risotto, but I'm in a rut. I always make mushroom risotto, and of course that's a super great and delicious combo, but I want to do something different, and am asking for risotto recipes you absolutely adore.

I did make a butternut squash risotto once, and it was ... okay? Not bad? But the mushiness and mild flavor of the cooked squash wasn't a great complement to the mushiness and mild flavor of the rice, in my opinion. Maybe if there had been a third ingredient that added some contrast it would have been better, idk.

So please share! What is your risotto love? No dietary restrictions, though not all items will be available in our location (Greece).
posted by taz to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Roasted eggplant , mebbes?
Cut big 3cm cubes of eggplant, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, put on roasting tray/dish
oven at 450(!) hot hot hot
Turn cubes at about 20 mins then roast for an additional 10-15 mins or until adorably scorched and yummy looking.
Throw atop a bowl of risotto & splod on a couple dessertspoons of tomato sauce/pasta sauce to taste.

Edited - this too is probably quite squashy, but with enough heat you can get it sort of caramelised and crispy in spots.
posted by aesop at 1:18 PM on May 9, 2022

I like risotto with green asparagus, looking for an English language recipe i found these, but i would simply do what you do with mushrooms only use asparagus instead. Also nice with peas and asparagus both.
posted by 15L06 at 1:19 PM on May 9, 2022 [6 favorites]

Throw some toasted pita on top for cronch.
posted by aesop at 1:20 PM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Seafood risotto made with chopped clams, scallops, shrimp, etc. is wonderful.
posted by slkinsey at 1:21 PM on May 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

risi e bisi
Right now it is asparagus season, so risotto with asparagus are on the table. You can do it with just the asparagus water or with a vegetable or chicken broth.
Another guardian recipe: risotto nero. This looks absolutely gorgeous if you add in shrimp or other pink shellfish just before serving.
Risotto Milanese is traditionally the side with osso buco, but it is also delicious in itself.
posted by mumimor at 1:26 PM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I love lemon parmesan risotto served with shrimp/prawns hot stir fried in butter, garlic and red chili flakes served over top. Something about the combo of acid fat and spice is just magical.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 1:29 PM on May 9, 2022

It's not traditional anywhere as far as I know, but curry powder, big chunks of onion, and fruits - currants, dried cranberries, raisins - has been really tasty, even if it may actually just be weird and soupy biryani. (No measured recipe, I'm afraid.)

Also, truffle butter can do amazing things to boring foods. (As can truffles, but that's more of an ordeal.)
posted by eotvos at 1:38 PM on May 9, 2022

I love cooks illustrated butternut squash risotto. Cook the squash cubes in the frying pan first, and hold about half that to add at to the very end so you get a variety of textures. Also added some squash and the toasted seeds/innards to the liquid to steep and add some more flavour there.
posted by platypus of the universe at 1:44 PM on May 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

I make a basic risotto (just rice, stock, sofritto, & parmesean) but stir in some leeks cooked in cream at the very end (at the point where you'd add the last ladle of stock and the remaining butter & grated parm). Pretty darn good.
posted by niicholas at 1:45 PM on May 9, 2022

Saffron risotto with peas. Lots of saffron.

Butternut squash risotto - cook the squash less, so it stays firmer

In both cases, lots of parmesan! The parm makes all the difference with the butternut squash risotto.
posted by happy_cat at 1:49 PM on May 9, 2022

When in a food rut, pay attention to seasonality and local availability. So right now, springtime risottos! I don’t know what’s fresh and good in Greece right now. Here it’s asparagus season though, so asparagus risotto, maybe with some crispy pan fried squid rings? Or maybe with some big lovely giant white beans and lots of fresh tender herbs. If you do oysters, their liquor can be used as part of the simmering liquid for the rice and adds an awesome ocean flavor, and oysters are a wonderful mix with all kinds of other flavors, try fennel and shallot. If you have access to some locally butchered meats or charcuterie try to incorporate them, either as a garnish on top or as a base for the stock. Lamb risotto with mint and fresh peas? Prosciutto crisped up and sprinkled onto a risotto with some rosemary steeped in the cream? I think my favorite risotto is freshly shelled English peas with mint and little teeny shrimp stirred in at the very end.
posted by Mizu at 1:59 PM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I will add that butternut squash does well with some fried sage as a garnish.
posted by oflinkey at 2:05 PM on May 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

Nthing the asparagus risotto, but add lemon juice and lemon zest to it.
posted by sarajane at 2:10 PM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Did you see the Stanley Tucci show on CNN last night?
posted by miles1972 at 3:37 PM on May 9, 2022

Yeah, my local asparagus supply has me making batch after batch of asparagus avgolemono soup right now, so I am Team Asparagus and Lemon. I don't add the asparagus (bodies cut in no more than 1/4" pieces, tips left a bit longer) until the final minute, just to get warm, because they are so fresh and good, but you can pre-trim the ends of your asparagus (and peel if they're enormous) and make a broth with the cast-offs in advance of cooking, for more flavor. You can also finish with a bit of goat cheese for extra creamy tanginess.

Similar preparation: broccoli rabe/broccolini/baby broccoli

In a fit of craving at some point during the pandemic, I made a roasted garlic and browned butter risotto. I keep craving it, but next time I want to make it with fish or seafood, and I think I might just do it with a poached or steamed cod - something meaty but really clean-tasting to bounce the risotto flavor off.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:06 PM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I could have written this ask right down to "mushroom risotto is my default".

I've had good luck with peas. I've enjoyed this Serious Eat's Vegan Miso Pressure Cooker Risotto.

If you are looking for an idea for leftovers, I really taking the cold risotto, form them into patties, dip them in beaten egg, the roll in breadcrumbs and saute.
posted by mmascolino at 4:11 PM on May 9, 2022 [2 favorites]


This is good but different — the liquid is from canned tomatoes rather than broth.
posted by LizardBreath at 4:26 PM on May 9, 2022

I don't eat dairy, so I make risotto with lots of well-sauteed onion, olive oil, herbs, good broth. I have added (frozen because it's so easy) cauliflower or other veg. quite happily.
posted by theora55 at 4:28 PM on May 9, 2022

Ripe cherry tomatoes sautéed until falling apart (just make the risotto like normal, meanwhile sautée the tomatoes in butter or oil and add at the end)
posted by Red Desk at 4:57 PM on May 9, 2022

Not a recipe but an approach. Somewhere* I read that cooking your risotto additions separately and then topping a perfect pure plain risotto will give more delicious results. This has been a game changer for me - I’ve done butternut squash and its seeds roasted, I’ve slow cooked leeks into a delicious buttery tangle, picking whatever cooking method will best bring out that vegetable in terms of flavour and texture, eg by roasting the squash, you can get the amazing caramelisation that might be harder to get if you cook it in the pan.

When my risotto is done, I put the vegetables on top with a drizzle of very good balsamic (watch the episode of Somebody Feed Phil where he goes to Moderna). Amazing!!

I use this Marcella Hazen recipe .

So yes, whatever is in season that you like, prepped separately.

* who knows, maybe one of the writers in the Guardian..? My risotto recipe is from there so likely.
posted by AnnaRat at 6:07 PM on May 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

My version (well.. the one I make) of the asparagus risotto that many have enjoyed - amounts and times omitted because they're variable and you know what you're doing!

-Pre-slice asparagus very thin diagonally (i.e. so you get longer slices) except for tips
-Saute shallot and garlic in butter until tender
-Add short grain rice and toast in butter until translucent
-Add pepper, some salt (not too much... parm incoming) and any other spice you like to have a bit of
-Alternate between adding a half cup or so (as it is absorbed) of white wine and broth until rice is just right
-Stir in heap of parmesan and a big dollop of creamy cheese (mascarpone ideally but plain cream will do)
-Fold in much asparagus immediately before serving, the rice will cook it

This is great on its own or as a side dish. I can see how a squeeze/zest of lemon might also be good here but I like it nice and savory.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:34 PM on May 9, 2022

Carmelized onion! Preferably carmelized in bacon fat. Mmmm
posted by Valancy Rachel at 7:37 PM on May 9, 2022

The ingredient your butternut risotto is missing is sage leaves , fried to a crisp in browned butter.
posted by CathyG at 8:47 PM on May 9, 2022

Blixa has your back.
posted by each day we work at 11:48 PM on May 9, 2022

Risotto cakes. Mildreds in London makes this delicious saffron and pea risotto cake that is heavenly. Ingredients here, recipe is basically make the risotto, roll balls in breadcrumbs, flatten and pan fry. I make a vegan version of this from their cookbook and it's a household favorite (served with arugula salad and a roast pepper sauce or romesco). But endless combinations await you in your crunchy, creamy risotto cake future.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:31 AM on May 10, 2022

I like the contrasting pop and sweetness of fresh corn in a risotto. Add parsley, too much butter, a little cheese (and, if nobody is looking, a swirl of cream), done.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 5:10 AM on May 10, 2022

Shuck some fresh sweet corn. Roast the husk in the oven to brown it. Slice the kernels from the cob. Roasted husks and cobs in the pressure cooker with enough water to have stock for your risotto. Pressure cook for ~45 minutes.

Make the risotto with the roasted corn stock and top with seared scallops. The toasted corn stock matches well with the nuttiness of parmesan, and the sweetness matches the scallops.
posted by bfranklin at 6:10 AM on May 10, 2022

Something a little different: risotto made with lemon (some juice and some zest), peas and then at the end, whip in some goat cheese. And parmesan too, of course. I also love mushroom risotto but this version is much zestier and lighter. Goes great with roasted asparagus, shrimp or salmon.
posted by sonofsnark at 8:40 AM on May 10, 2022

My go-to is Deborah Madison's beet risotto with greens
posted by xueexueg at 1:35 PM on May 10, 2022

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