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How to make the perfect Risotto and A Marathon of Risotto Recipes


Dear Readers and friends,  I am ending this year’s post with a Marathon post with Risottos.  This post is symbolic and as we through rice at weddings as a symbol of prosperity, I wish that the New Year will bring you and your families Happiness and prosperity to your lives.
Vegan risotto with mushrooms, peas, chives and cranberries

I make risottos very often as it’s a recipe which takes little time and is so delicious.  I checked my file with recipes to post and found that there are a lot of recipes I have made ages ago and never managed to post them.  Today I am going to spend the day posting these recipes and hope that you will find something which you will really enjoy.

Before going to the recipe, I would like to clarify a few things which make a risotto different than a rice pilaf.  I know that most of you know what the difference is but I have noticed that in Greece when they say “risotto” they think that it is the translation of the word “pilaf” so I usually hear people saying today I made a risotto and they just state a few ingredients with which they have enriched their pilaf.

If you already know how to make a perfect risotto, just skip these few lines and go straight to the recipes.

One thing is crucial for a good risotto is to have everything ready before you step up to the stove. The whole procedure does not last more than half an hour so make sure that the family is at home before starting the procedure, as it should be served immediately.

Carolina and Arborio rice

First of all to make risotto we need a special kind of rice, such as arborio, carnaroli, or a variety called vialone nano for more robust flavours.  However, apart from arborio, in Greece it is very difficult to find the two latter varieties and I usually use a very good Greek variety called Carolina, which is a starchy rice.  I have tried arborio and to be frank I prefer the Greek variety which tastes better and is cheaper.

Now that we know what kind of rice to use, risotto is not like pilaf which all the ingredient are boiled together.  A risotto has it’s own special method and technique which should be followed, especially the addition of the stock.

We can make stock ourselves from scratch, which could be chicken stock, fish stock, beef stock, vegetable stock or just hot water and an organic cube stock, depending on the ingredients we are using.   If , for example, we are using chicken in our risotto, it is preferable to use a chicken stock and it goes without saying that the tastier the stock is, the tastier our risotto will become.  The stock should always be warm, so as not to delay the cooking procedure.  Adding cold stock will take time until it is warmed and absorbed.

A pilaf is usually cooked in a pot whereas a risotto is better to be cooked in a heavy skillet or a  heavy based pan.

To start with, we saute the onion until translucent.  I always use olive oil as I am against using butter.  The onion should become soft and in no way brown as it will change the flavour.  The white part of green onions can also be used and the green parts should be added at a later stage.  We then add the garlic as it browns quicker than the onion.  At the beginning I did not like garlic and added it whole, which I removed when the risotto was cooked.  I gradually became a garlic lover and have been using it for many years and my recent love of garlic is roasted garlic.  I add either raw or roasted and sometime even both.  If you don’t like garlic you should definitely try roasted garlic which leaves a wonderful taste to the food without the awful smell.

Next step is to add the rice in the sauteed onion.  About 100 grams of rice is enough for 1 portion.  The rice should be mixed in the olive oil until the rice has absorbed the oil.  This will give the rice additional flavour but will also help the rice not to become mashy but will stay soft outside and al dente inside, which is how the texture of a risotto should be.

At this stage we usually add white dry wine which should be mixed until the alcohol evaporates.  Wine is only added to add an extra taste when the alcohol evaporates.  If for any reason you need to avoid the wine, this will not affect the final outcome of your risotto, although you can add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice for a little extra acidity.

Now is the time to season the rice and start adding the stock a ladleful at a time.  Rice sticks to the bottom of the pan if not stirred often, so we should occasionally (not necessarily continuously) stir the rice and when the stock is absorbed, continue adding a ladleful, mixing from time to time.  This procedure will take about 15 – 20 minutes.

The final stage is to add the cheese to make the risotto creamy.  Some people add butter as well but as I said above I am against butter.  I always use Greek cheeses which are cheaper from parmesan or other imported cheeses but I can assure you that Greek cheeses have an amazing taste.  I usually use cheeses made from ewes and goat milk, like feta, graviera, halloumi, katiki Domokou, xynomyziyhtra and I have also made risotto using Greek yoghurt, which you all know what an amazing taste it has.

Using the above technique is just the basic way of making a risotto.  If you follow these steps, the possibilities of making risottos are endless.  At the end of the post I have some recipes in which you can see how I have incorporated some other ingredients in my risottos.

Collage Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas

Vegan Mushroom Risotto with Peas and Chives, recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  25 minutes
Serves:  3 – 4


  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cube vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 300 grams carolina rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano
  • 4 tablespoons, chopped chives, (reserve some for decoration)
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped, (reserve some for decoration)
  • 4 tablespoons dill, finely chopped,
  • 1 /4 cup dried cranberries (reserve some for decoration)


  1. In a saucepan, warm the water and dissolve the vegetable cube.
  2. In a non stick frying pan heat, 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the mushrooms.  Remove and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onions until translucent and add the green part of the onion, the chives and garlic and mix for a couple of seconds.
  4. Add the peas and sauté for a few minutes.
  5. Add the rice, and mix well to absorb the oil and add the wine and stir until the alcohol evaporates.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and start adding a ladle of broth mixing constantly until it is absorbed.
  7. Continue adding broth and mixing for about 15 – 20 minutes until the rice is cooked al dente.
  8. Finally, mix in the mushrooms, add the fresh herbs and mix  for 2 – 3 minutes.
  9. Decorate with chives, parsley and dill and season with additional freshly ground pepper.

Note:  If you do not want the risotto vegan you can add cheese after adding the vegetable and mix until cheese melts.

Spinach risotto

Greek Spinach Risotto with feta

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  25 minutes

Serves:  4 – 5


  • 750 grams frozen spinach
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 350 grams of carolina rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dill, finely chopped
  • 200 grams Greek feta or Greek Yoghurt


  1. In a saucepan put the frozen spinach on low heat with half a cup of water and mix until it wilts.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In another saucepan, warm the water and dissolve the vegetable bouillon.
  3. Heat, the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onions and garlic, until translucent.
  4. Add rice, and mix well to absorb the oil and add the wine and stir until the alcohol evaporates.
  5. Mix in the spinach and season with salt and pepper and start adding a ladle of broth mixing constantly until it is absorbed.
  6. Continue adding broth and mixing for about 20 minutes until the rice is cooked al dente.
  7. Five minutes before it is ready, mix in the parsley and dill and mix for 2 – 3 minutes.
  8. Finally, add the crumbled feta and mix until creamy.
  9. Serve while hot adding some extra feta or Greek yoghurt on top.

risotto with Kalamari shrimps and Leeks


One of the reasons I have never posted this recipe is that I forgot to take a picture of it but here it is while almost cooked.

Risotto with Kalamari, Shrimps and Leeks, recipe by Ivy

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 finely chopped green onion, or ½ small red onion
  • 250 grams cooked shrimp
  • 250 grams baby kalamari (squid)
  • 500 grams Carolina rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1 litre Shrimp stock
  • 1 vegetable bouillon
  • Finely chopped parsley
  • 7 -8 button mushrooms
  • 1 cup of bell peppers (various colours)



  1. In a pot add the shrimps with about 1 litre water and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove the shrimps with a slotted ladle and add the vegetable bouillon and mix until it dissolves.  Turn off the heat.
  2. In a non stick frying pan heat 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the mushrooms.   Add the bell peppers and sauté for a minute and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet or sautéing pan heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the leeks and onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and mix for a few seconds.
  4. Add the kalamari and sauté for five minutes.  Add the rice and mix to absorb the oil, sauté for a minute or two and then add the wine.  Season with salt and pepper and mix until the alcohol evaporates.
  5. When the wine is almost cooked away, start adding the stock a ladle at a time.  Keep adding stock until your risotto is nearly done. If you run out of stock, add water.
  6. When adding the last stock, mix in the shrimps, parsley, mushrooms and bell peppers and stir well to combine.
  7.  Sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper and serve while hot.

Risotto with Chicken, Saffron & Roasted Garlic

In this recipe the chicken is used raw and is cooked with risotto.


Risotto with Chicken, Saffron and Roasted Garlic, recipe by Ivy

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  7


  • 700 grams chicken fillet, cut into thin pieces of 1 cm
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic, mashed
  • 400 grams Carolina Rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bio vegetable cube dissolved in 1 litre water and 0.25 grams saffron
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup bell peppers, julienned and sautéed separately in 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 grams graviera, grated


  1. In a saucepan, warm the water and dissolve the vegetable cube and the saffron.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sauté chicken on both sides.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add garlic and mix.
  3. Add rice and mix until it is well coated and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the wine and mix until the alcohol evaporates.
  5. Add the stock gradually, a ladleful at a time and keep mixing for about 15 – 20 minutes until the rice is cooked.
  6. In a non stick frying pan add 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté the peppers separately for 2 – 3 minutes.   Add the peppers and parsley and mix.
  7. Finally add graviera and mix until it melts.
  8. Serve hot.

Other similar recipes:

Shrimp Risotto with Tomato and Greek Saffron

Chicken & Tarragon Risotto

Shrimp Risotto Two Ways

Greek Herbed Risotto with Mushrooms and Halloumi

Risotto with Leftover Turkey, Feta and Raisins


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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10 Responses

  1. Awesome risotti! My favorite has to be the one with feta and spinach.

    Happy New yEar!



  2. Anna from stuffedveggies

    Thank you for a wonderful blog! I just found it today & am really enjoying it – especially the info& recipes from Cyprus!

    Looking forward to more posts – thanks for the great content : )

  3. I do wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year, Ivy. And I love risotto, I love that it is inexpensive, easy and fast and so versatile… we make it the center of a meal which is what you have done. I love your Greek version and your Seafood version! Delicious!

  4. The risottos look great…I would not know which one I’d like to try first. I think I’d go with the seafood one.
    Happy 2013 and have a great week Ivy!

  5. I love risotto, and these all look great! The feta on the spinach version is tempting me this morning, and the color of the saffron risotto is so pretty. Hope your 2013 is off to a great start!
    lisaiscooking recently posted..Tlacoyos with Swiss Chard, Potatoes, Mushrooms, and Salsa BorrachaMy Profile

  6. I’ve been wanting to make something like a spanakorizo with risotto for a while – thanks for the extra push! Happy new year, Ivy.

  7. Albert

    your recipe looks delicious, it worth a try .thanks

  8. Greg

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  9. Tania

    My goodness,
    This risotto looks just great!!
    I’ll try it out sometime during the week and will come back to this post for my impression 🙂
    Keep up the good work!
    One of your followers,
    Tania M.

  10. Great post!! Using fetta in risotto is sooo GREEK! 🙂
    I love the way you cook…
    Eftychia recently posted..Black Forest (Forêt-Noire)My Profile

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