Parmesan Risotto

This creamy parmesan risotto pair beautifully with any main course. It's warm, cheesy, and packed with delicious and comforting flavors. An impressive side dish for a fancy dinner, yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.

Parmesan risotto in a white baking dish.
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Parmesan Risotto Recipe

Whether it's your first time making risotto or you're experienced in the process, this recipe will be super easy. Parmesan risotto is the creamiest, most delicious rice dish ever.

Risotto is kinda my jam. I mean, I even have guides on how to cook risotto and how to reheat risotto! It's just such a versatile side dish that can easily be a main course too. There's so many different flavor variations and fun recipes to make.

But creamy chicken risotto is one of my favorites because the creamy texture is so comforting. So I wanted to make something a little similar to it, but more cheesy. Enter this easy parmesan risotto recipe!

There's a huge difference between good risotto and average risotto, and I've got all the tips to help you make the most perfect risotto. With this easy recipe, you can make the cheesiest comfort food side dish in no time.

Why You'll Love this Recipe

What's not to love about cheesy rice that's loaded with flavor? It really is one of my favorite things:

  • Any and all home cooks can easily follow this recipe. The cooking process for risotto isn't necessarily "easy" but it's not too difficult either. If you can follow a recipe card, then you can make this dish!
  • This dish is incredibly versatile and can go with anything you want. No more struggling to find a side dish that isn't boring!
  • Parmesan risotto has a rich flavor and the end result is a dish that the entire family will enjoy. Even kiddos!
Parmesan risotto in a white baking dish next to a wooden cheese grater.

Ingredients

Before you run to the grocery store, check your pantry for these ingredients. You'll need each of these to make this easy risotto recipe:

  • olive oil
  • yellow onion
  • minced garlic
  • Arborio rice
  • dry white wine
  • chicken broth, beef broth or vegetable broth
  • green peas
  • black pepper
  • grated parmesan

Substitutions and Variations

Don't have olive oil? You can substitute avocado oil or another neutral flavored oil.

Arborio rice is most commonly used in risotto. However, arborio is just a short grain rice with a high starch content and can be substituted if need be. Use carnaroli rice or other shorter-grained rices like jasmine rice if you are unable to find arborio.

I prefer to use chicken broth in this recipe, but you can use beef broth of vegetable broth if you prefer. In fact, this recipe can easily be made vegetarian with the use of vegetable broth.

Feel free to omit the green peas if you want. You can leave veggies out entirely or replace the green peas with something like diced carrots.

A series of photos demonstrating how to cook risotto.

How to Make Parmesan Risotto

Pour chicken broth into a small saucepan and set it to low heat on the stove top.

Dice the onion and finely mince the fresh garlic cloves. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large saucepan, then sauté the onions and garlic for about 2 minutes.

Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir with wooden spoon. Sauté the rice until the edges are translucent.

then pour the wine over the rice and let it absorb, this should take about 5 minutes and be sure to stir halfway through.

Using a ladle, pour about a ½ cup of broth into the risotto and allow it to fully absorb before adding another ladle full. Stir occasionally between the ladles of broth.

When there is a ½ cup of broth left to add, mix the peas into saucepan. Allow them to thaw and cook in the rice dish.

Taste the risotto to make sure it is cooked al dente or softer. If it is not to your liking, then add the rest of the broth to cook it to the correct consistency.

Parmesan risotto and peas sprinkled with parmesan cheese in a white baking dish.

Once done, top the risotto with black pepper and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately!

How to Store Leftover Parmesan Risotto

Parmesan risotto will last for about 5 days in the fridge. Just make sure you transfer it to an airtight container and allow it to fully cool before transferring it to the refrigerator.

However, it is important to note that risotto will thicken up a bit when refrigerated, so you'll need to revive this delicious dish a little bit when you reheat it. I talk all about those tips and tricks in my blog on how to reheat risotto!

Parmesan risotto with peas topped with parmesan cheese in a baking dish.

What to Serve with Parmesan Risotto

The great thing about a versatile side dish like this one is that you can pair it with tons of different meals. It's amazing as a side with marinated pork tenderloin, but I also love serving it with a skillet steak or pork steak too.

Oh, and it's absolutely perfect with pesto salmon! But whatever I pair it with, I'm sure to make some homemade breadsticks too.

You can also make this parmesan risotto a main course. Add some protein like grilled chicken or grilled shrimp, and voila! A delicious main dish loaded with great flavor.

Tips for Success

Check out these few pro-tips so that your cheesy rice dish is the best that it can be:

  • Freshly grated parmesan will provide the most gooey and cheesy results. There is often an anti-caking agent added to store-bought cheese which in turn effects its meltability. So grating your own cheese will make for a better risotto!
  • I recommend using frozen peas. Canned peas will work too, but frozen peas tend to have a better texture and flavor after being cooked.
  • It is important to occasionally stir the risotto as it cooks so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. However, don't stir it too much or it could affect the texture of the rice.
Parmesan risotto in a white dish with peas.

FAQ

What makes risotto so creamy?

The cooking process that is used when making risotto is key in making it rich and creamy. Adding the cooking liquid over time, instead of all at once, allows for a slow release of the starches. This creates rice that is cooked perfectly al dente, yet has a thick and creamy sauce.

What is the best rice for risotto?

Arborio rice typically produces the best results when making risotto. The short grain rice is high and starch so it cooks evenly and helps to create a thick sauce.

More Easy Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Perfect Risotto

This homemade risotto base is the only risotto recipe you'll ever need! It is the perfect Italian dinner or side dish.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 32 oz chicken broth beef broth or vegetable broth
  • cup parmesan
  • ⅓ - ½ cup peas
  • lemon zest to taste

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, pour in broth and set to low heat. 
  • Dice onion and mince garlic. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a saucepan on medium heat, sauté onions and garlic until almost translucent, about 2 minutes. 
  • Add arborio rice to pan and stir with wooden spoon until the edges are translucent another 2 minutes. 
  • Pour in wine and let the wine absorb almost fully, about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  • Use a ladle to pour about ½ cup of broth into the risotto. Allow risotto to almost fully absorb broth before adding another ladle. Stir risotto occasionally, between ladling in broth.
  • When there is about a ½ cup of broth left to add to the risotto, add peas. They will thaw quickly in the hot risotto.
  • Taste risotto when last ladle is absorbed to make sure it's cooked to your preference level (al dente vs softer). If needed, add the rest of the broth or more to cook to the right consistency for your preference.
  • Top with black pepper, lemon zest and more fresh parmesan. Serve immediately.

Notes

Always use at least lukewarm stock - never cold.
Use vegetable broth to make this risotto vegan.
Instead of using wine, squeeze in lemon juice at some point during the cooking process or at the very end for a punch of lemon flavor.
To reheat risotto, microwave individual portions or add a splash of cooking broth and bake until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 653mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 108IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg

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