risottoCreamy and tender risotto is easy to perfect in just four steps.

Campus chef offers four easy steps to perfect risotto

The key to good risotto is using short-grain risotto rice, says Paolo Vasapolli, executive chef in Food Services.

Arborio is the most commonly available variety in American supermarkets, but if you can find carnaroli, vialone or another Italian “risotto” rice, you can use those as well. These rices are high in amylopectin, a starch that readily breaks down when cooked, giving risotto its characteristically creamy texture.

“While I usually advocate for whole grains over refined grains, the outer layer of bran on brown rice prevents the starch from being released during cooking, so whole-grain rice can’t give you the same result,” he says. “You’ll also want to make sure to use a broth or stock that you like, since the dish will be infused with its essence.”

Vasapolli also recommends a good-quality Parmesan cheese, preferably the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano, to get the best flavour bang for your buck.


  • 5 cups broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots or white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups “risotto” rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Bring the broth—beef, vegetable, or Vasapolli’s favourite, chicken stock—to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.
  2. Heat oil in a pan on medium-low heat. Add fine diced shallots or onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and salt and stir to coat. At this point you can add kale, smoked salmon, fresh mushrooms, beets, spinach, or whatever additional ingredients to flavour the risotto as you like.
  3. Stir 1/2 cup of the hot broth and a generous splash of wine into the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to cook on medium-low, adding broth in 1/2-cup increments followed by a splash of wine, and stirring frequently after each addition, until most of the liquid is absorbed. The risotto is done when you’ve used all the broth and wine and the rice is creamy and just tender, 25 to 35 minutes total.
  4. Remove from the heat; stir in 3/4 cup cheese and fresh pepper. Serve right away, sprinkled with the remaining cheese.