Parmesan Risotto

$7.97 recipe / $1.99 serving
by Jess Rice
5 from 1 vote
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Creamy Parmesan risotto is comfort food at its finest! Warm, rich, and cheesy, this dish is a perennial favorite. It’s loaded with belly-filling Arborio rice and Parmesan cheese to keep you full and satisfied for under $10. What could be better?!

overhead view of a wooden spoon in a pan of parmesan risotto.

What is Parmesan Risotto?

Risotto is a magical dish created by slow-cooking starchy rice in broth. Part of the magic is how the rice leeches its starches into the liquid, creating a creamy and rich sauce. This is achieved by adding the broth slowly over a longer period of time and stirring continuously. Most risotto has cheese, and we love Parmesan, so it felt like a natural choice for this Parmesan risotto recipe! I think making risotto is my favorite form of meditation; it makes me practice living in the moment!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make Parmesan risotto:

  • Vegetable Broth: We used Better than Bouillon to cut costs. You can also substitute chicken broth if you prefer.
  • Dry White Wine: We used a mini chardonnay Bota Box for this recipe, but white cooking wine also works well. If you don’t have white wine on hand, just up your recipe to 5 cups of vegetable broth.
  • Olive Oil: Helps cook the onion without burning it. You can use canola or vegetable oil to cut costs.
  • Yellow Onion: Adds a sweet and earthy flavor to the risotto.
  • Arborio Rice: An Italian, short-grain rice that has a high starch content, perfect for making risotto.
  • Butter: Salted or unsalted is fine, you will just need to adjust any additional salt based on whatever butter you have on hand. We used unsalted butter.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhance the overall flavor of this risotto.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Provides the majority of the flavor of this dish. We do not recommend using pre-shredded cheese for this recipe. Shred yours fresh!
  • Parsley: Adds a pop of freshness and color.

Risotto Variations

This Parmesan risotto is great as is, but you can also make it your own by experimenting with additional ingredients. Try adding:

  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Frozen peas
  • Frozen corn kernels
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

Tips for Making Creamy Risotto

  • This recipe requires few ingredients, but it is a labor of love! You don’t want to pour all of the broth in at once, because then you will just have regular boiled rice. Your rice will slowly absorb the liquid and become super creamy if you take your time and follow the directions. Risotto shouldn’t take you much longer than 20 minutes from start to finish. As you can see in the photos, we used up all of the veggie broth, so be patient and watch the magic happen!
  • Risotto is traditionally enjoyed “al dente” with a little chew left to it.
  • Typically, we don’t use wine on Budget Bytes because it tends to hike the grocery bill up and, if you don’t imbibe, you will have a lot leftover and therefore a lot of waste. This is definitely a special date night recipe, so we say you splurge for the wine and enjoy yourselves!
  • If you are vegan or just dairy-free, you can definitely make risotto with vegan butter or margarine and omit the Parmesan cheese.

What to Serve with Parmesan Risotto

We love serving risotto with sauteed asparagus and fresh herbs. It’s also fantastic with sauteed or balsamic roasted mushrooms. YUM!

overhead view of parmesan risotto in a white bowl with asparagus spears.
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Parmesan Risotto

5 from 1 vote
Creamy Parmesan risotto is comfort food at its finest! Warm, rich, and cheesy, this dish is a perennial favorite.
Author: Jess Rice
overhead view of a wooden spoon in a pan of parmesan risotto.
Servings 4
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 35 minutes
Total 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth ($0.36)
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil ($0.34)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small ($0.78)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked and unrinsed ($2.62)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vegetable broth ($1.04)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan ($2.57)
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley ($0.08)
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Instructions 

  • Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer in a large saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.
  • Heat a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan. Swirl to coat and add your onion and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions look glossy and clear. Your onions should not caramelize or brown for this recipe.
  • Add the Arborio rice to the pan and stir to combine. Toast the onion and rice together for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Deglaze your pan with room temperature white wine and let it cook down until there’s just a little left in the pan, about ½ or less of what you poured in.
  • Now, begin adding 1 ladle of hot broth at a time, stirring the risotto constantly until the broth is about 75% absorbed by the arborio rice. I find it usually takes a solid minute or two before I add another ladle of broth. Add another ladle until your entire supply of hot stock has been used up. This step takes approximately 20 minutes total. Once you have used up all of your broth and your Arborio rice is al dente and creamy, remove pot from heat.
  • Stir in butter, pepper, and cheese. Taste and adjust salt, if needed, and finish with the parsley.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 454kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 9gFat: 14gSodium: 1448mgFiber: 2g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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three-quarters view of parmesan risotto in a white bowl with asparagus spears and a fork.

how to make Parmesan Risotto – step by step photos

orange liquid in a saucepan.

Bring 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth to a simmer in a large saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.

diced onion in a pan.

Heat a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the pan. Swirl to coat and add 1 diced yellow onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions look glossy and clear. Your onions should not caramelize or brown for this recipe.

diced onion and rice in a pan.

Add the Arborio rice to the pan and stir to combine. Toast the onion and rice together for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

white wine poured over rice and onions in a pan.

Deglaze your pan with 1/2 cup of room-temperature white wine and let it cook down until there’s just a little left in the pan, about half or less of what you poured in.

vegetable broth added to rice in a pan.

Now, begin adding 1 ladle of hot broth at a time. Stir the risotto constantly until the broth is about 75% absorbed by the arborio rice. Then, add another ladle every time until your entire supply of hot stock has been used up. Remove pot from heat.

parmesan risotto in a pan.

Stir in 1 Tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust salt, if needed, and finish with 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley.

overhead view of parmesan risotto on a white plate with asparagus spears and a fork.

Make this rich and creamy Parmesan risotto for your next cozy night in!

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Comments

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  1. I don’t keep arborio in my pantry. If I buy some, can you think of more uses for it? I tried searching BB for arborio, but didn’t see any recipes. If I tried this with long grain, would that be super disappointing?

    1. Unfortunately, you really do need arborio for risotto. You can use arborio in a lot of different rice dishes though! Rice pudding, Paella, etc.

    2. Avgolemono soup is best with arborio rice, but honestly chicken soups in general (and honestly just anything where you’d also use barley or farro) benefit from the softness of arborio rice. Sadly there’s no Avgolemono recipe here, but Chef John’s is pretty easy and absolutely delicious.