Low-Maintenance Risotto
Low-Maintenance Risotto Easy enough for a weeknight. Erin McDowell

We get it: Constantly stirring risotto is not high on your list of priorities. (You have emails to send, homework to help with and Netflix shows to binge-watch, for crying out loud.) Your time is precious, so we’re here to help. In this easy risotto recipe, we still add the broth to the rice one cup at a time as in the traditional method, but we save the stirring for the very end to create that coveted creamy texture. So all you have to do is keep an eye on the pot as the risotto simmers and do what you do best: multitask.

Makes 4 main-course servings or 8 side-dish servings
Start to Finish: 45 minutes


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely minced

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1 cup arborio rice

⅓ cup dry white wine

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Sautéed mushrooms, optional (see Finishing Touches)


1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the rice and stir to combine, 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer until the liquid is nearly absorbed, about 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Add the broth 1 cup at a time. Bring the first cup to a simmer and cook until the rice has nearly absorbed all the liquid, 10 to 12 minutes. Then add another cup of broth and let simmer until nearly absorbed. Repeat a third time so that all the broth has been added and absorbed.

4. Add the butter and stir vigorously until the mixture is combined and the butter is melted. (The vigorous stirring brings out the natural starches in the rice, which makes the risotto creamy.)

5. Add the cheese and mix well to combine. Season the risotto with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, spoon the risotto onto plates and top with sautéed mushrooms, if using. Serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • This risotto is perfection served plain. But if you want to make the dish heartier, top it with sautéed mushrooms (as we've done here) or crisped pancetta or bacon, then sprinkle on your favorite freshly chopped herbs. (We like parsley, rosemary or thyme.)

  • Leftover risotto makes an easy lunch as risotto cakes. Stir 1 egg into 1 cup leftover risotto. Form 3 generous tablespoons of risotto into small cakes, then coat in bread crumbs. Panfry the cakes in 4 tablespoons olive oil until golden and crisp. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of coarse salt.

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