Risotto alla Parmigiana (Traditional Method)

Risotto is a versatile and popular dish that originated in Italy. There are few dishes as excellent as risotto. This simple, warming and hearty rice dish can be matched with other hundred flavors, such as butter, saffron, and parmesan.

Risotto is versatile and you can simply pair it with other ingredients. From your dining home to the top restaurants across the globe, risotto found its popularity among cooks and chefs.

The origin of Italian icon Risotto

The origin of risotto can be connected to the history of rice in the Italian region. Despite the various opposing ideas on the complex origin of rice, it cannot be denied that rice was first brought to Italy by the Arabian people during the Middle ages.

 The kind of climate in the Mediterranean was suitable for planting and cultivating shorter-grained rice varieties. The producers and farmers eventually got significant revenues by selling these types of rice in Venice and other parts of the Italy.

Eventually, rice-growing became famous throughout the country. However, during this time, the prices of this type of goods stood higher, and only the wealthy could afford it.

Interestingly, the other countries outside Italy found the amazing type of short-grains rice, and they started to put so much capital in producing this. This made this rice affordable and accessible anywhere outside Italy.

Milan proved to be the lucky place where this rice found so much popularity. Since Milan was under the rule of Spain during this period, they were also to have access on this kind of rice, making it a staple on the table of every family.

“Slow-cooking also dominated the culinary landscape of the region, with Ossobucco a long-held favorite. The slow-cooking principles were combined with the local rice, emphasizing the rich flavours, and spices (particularly saffron) for which the area was known, to create ‘Risotto alla Milanese’,” according to a food article from Via Verdi.

As a pair to Ossobucco and other food, people soon discovered that risotto was an excellent way using the shorter-grained rice.

Even to the present, risotto was made from the same essential ingredients: rice, butter, chicken, wine, onions, saffron, and parmesan.

“Today the dish is served extensively, almost unchanged, in the kitchens and restaurants of the world,” according to Via Verdi.

details of fresh sea food risotto

Other components that are being paired with risotto are lobsters, sausages, duck, veal, scallops, pumpkin, snails, truffles, mushrooms, snails, squid ink, and asparagus, among others.

We recommend pairing Frescobaldi Remole Toscana IGT wine with this Risotto alla Parmigiana recipe.

Base for all Risotto Recipes 

Serves 6

Chef: Donatella Zampoli


1 lb Carnaroli or Arborio rice

5 tbsp butter of oil

1/2 glass of dry white wine

6 cups boiling stock (you can use a cube stock as well)

4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Steps in cooking Risotto alla Parmigiana

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter on low heat, add the onion and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until golden.
  2. Add the rice, stir carefully and blend with the butter.
  3. Then, turn up the fire and sprinkle the rice with the wine, let it evaporate, and then pour 2 ladles of stock into the rice; stir well and when the stock is completely absorbed, add two more ladles of stock.
  4. Go on in this way three or four times. After 15 minutes, begin tasting the rice very often, so that it doesn’t overcook , risotto must always be al “DENTE”!
  5. If the grains are still undercooked, add half a ladle of stock at a time and leave the rice to cook. Remember to stir continuously!
  6. When the rice is ready, remove it from the fire and season it with one tablespoon of butter and the Parmesan cheese. Taste it to check if there is enough salt and pepper.
  7. Before serving, leave it to rest for a few minutes. 

This Risotto is the base for all the other recipes.

Risotto with shrimps in a plate, close-up, top view

Some amazing facts about Risotto

  1. The most famous Italian rice used in risotto dishes is Il riso Arborio.
  2. Il riso Arborio is derived from the town of Arborio in the Piemonte region.  
  3. These grains are grown in the Novara, Pavia, and Vercelli provinces of the northern part of Italy.
  4. Gaultiero Marchesi, the most famous Italian chef, invented a special type of risotto. 
  5. Marchesi’s special type of risotto has main ingredients of il burro – butter,lo zafferano – saffron, il vino bianco -white wine and l’oro – 24 carat gold, according to Melissa’s Italian Kitchen.
  6. The name of the special risotto dish risotto di lusso – luxury risotto – has a thin leaf of gold as toppings, which softens with the heat from the rice. 
  7. Gaultiero Marchesi died in December 2017. However, his dish remains popular today.
  8. La risicoltura is the term used when it comes to cultivating Italia rice.
  9. The other type of Italian rice is il riso Carnaroli. 
  10. The grains in il riso Carnaroli are smaller than Arborio and absorb water better without leaving plenty of starch.
  11. Marchesi’s risotto dishes are still served at Michelin star restaurant situated next to il Teatro alla Scala di Milano.
  12. Rice is the main ingredient in risotto.
  13. The health benefits of eating risotto come from the nutrients found in rice.
  14. According to various studies, eating a rice-based diet may provide certain benefits.
  15. The rice in risotto called arborio is known to have higher levels of amylopectin starch. 
  16. Risotto can be a side dish.
  17. In other countries, risotto is consumed as a complete meal, with additional food items such as vegetables or seafood.
  18. Risotto is cooked slowly with stock, mostly vegetable or chicken stock, making it a creamy and delicious meal. 
  19. Risotto contains carbohydrates. However, other risotto recipes include high in saturated fat because of the butter and cheese that are used to prepare it.
  20. Risotto can also be high in sodium. 
  21. Adding some vegetables and lean protein helps to give risotto a more balanced nutritional value.