Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish that is available at any time of the year. Here are 9 easy winter risotto recipes to enjoy its flavors while paying attention to nutritional balance.
Risotto is a dish that in the Italian peninsula is usually served as an appetizer (however, it sometimes happens that it is used as a side dish for the main course). Its origins date back to at least the 16th century, when its most famous variant appeared: risotto alla milanesa, seasoned with saffron.
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Traditional risotto recipe
This dish is made with starchy rice (such as Arborio or Carnaroli rice), pre-fried in fat (with or without onions), then deglazed with wine (usually white. It is then cooked, gradually adding vegetable, meat or fish stock). The recipe ends with grated parmesan, which is allowed to melt to give a creamy shade. You can serve this dish with pieces of meat, fish or vegetables.
A few tips on how to brighten up risotto
To make this dish less caloric, without losing its gluttony, you can modify it several stages of preparation :
measure out the fat intended for browning the ingredients before adding the rice;
avoid the step of deglazing the wine;
they prefer homemade or ready-made broth, but preferably defatted;
limit the amount of parmesan. You can use a light variety, limiting yourself to 1 tablespoon. Some recipes also recommend replacing it with 1 tablespoon of ricotta, a low-calorie fresh Italian cheese, to preserve the smoothness of the original dish.
It is also advisable to include vegetables and greens, selected according to the seasons, so that this dish turns out to be very tasty.
These tips modify the traditional recipe, but make it easier to prepare this dish. This slideshow features 9 easy winter risotto recipe ideas that you can enjoy.
Zucchini, carrot and turnip risotto For 4 people. Peel and finely chop 400 g of pumpkin, 2 turnips and 2 carrots. Peel and finely chop 2 onions (red or white, depending on taste). Prepare 1 liter of vegetable broth. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, add onions and rice. Leave to cook for 3 minutes, stirring, then add the rest of the vegetables. Brown for 2 minutes, then add 1 ladleful of stock, then repeat until the rice and vegetables are fully cooked. At the end of cooking season everything with curry and cumin to taste, salt and pepper before serving.
Risotto alla Milanese For 4 people. Peel and dice ½ of the white onion. Prepare 1 liter of fat-free chicken stock. In a pan, fry the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rice and simmer for another 3 minutes. Add 2 ladles of stock, let the rice soak it up while stirring, then repeat the operation several times until the rice is cooked (about 20 minutes). 5 minutes before the end, add 1 bag of saffron dissolved in half a glass of broth, a little salt and pepper. When ready, add 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan.
Mushroom risotto For 4 people. Clean and cut into pieces 500 g of mushrooms of your choice and divide them in half. Peel and mince 2 cloves of garlic, 1 onion and 2 shallots. Fry half of the mushrooms and half of the onion in a pan, pouring 1 liter of vegetable broth. Let it be for now. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan to make the risotto. At this time, you can add the remaining mushrooms and fry them with shallots, garlic and parsley or fry them separately. Add 400g of Carnaroli or Arborio rice. Mix well, then add a ladleful of stock until absorbed. Repeat the operation until the rice is fully cooked. Cook the mushrooms if they were not cooked with the rice, then serve them over it. Add some pepper and 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
Risotto with mushrooms and broccoli For 4 people. Clean and cut into pieces 500g of broccoli and 250g of mushrooms of your choice. Peel and chop 2 shallots. Prepare 1 liter of fat-free chicken stock. Sauté the mushrooms, broccoli and shallots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Then add 200g of Arborio rice, stir, then add 1 ladleful of stock. Let the rice absorb it before adding another ladle. Repeat the operation until the rice and vegetables are ready. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and salt and pepper.
Pearl groats risotto with mushrooms For 4 people. Clean or peel and chop 200g mushrooms, 1 clove of garlic and 1 onion. Prepare 1 liter of vegetable broth. Sauté the onion and mushrooms in a pan for 5 minutes with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add garlic and 250 g of pearl barley, mix and cook for 1 minute while stirring. Then add half of the broth and cook for 50 minutes over low heat, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon. Add broth as needed while cooking. Add 1 tablespoon of ricotta, salt and pepper at the end of cooking. You can finish the dish by adding some chaburek and chopped cashew nuts.
Risotto with saffron and salmon For 4 people. Peel and chop 1 onion, prepare 50 ml of fat-free vegetable broth. Start cooking 250 g of salmon fillets by placing them in an oven preheated to 180° for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the onion in a pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil for 3 minutes. Then add 250g of Arborio rice. Mix everything before pouring 1 ladleful of broth. After the latter is absorbed by the rice, repeat the operation until it is cooked. When the salmon is ready, cut it into pieces. Then add 1 portion of saffron (previously diluted in ½ cup of broth) to the rice and cook for another 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then top with 1 tablespoon ricotta and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan.
Barley, leek and ginger risotto For 4 people. Peel and cut into pieces 2 leeks, 3 shallots and 1 cm of ginger. Heat 1 liter of fat-free vegetable broth. In a pan, fry the leeks and shallots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes. Then add 350 g of pearl barley and ginger. Mix and pour half of the broth. Cook over low heat for 50 minutes, stirring regularly and adding broth if necessary. When the barley is cooked, add some chopped parsley, salt and pepper. You can finish with 1 tablespoon of ricotta.
Risotto with lemon and shrimp For 4 people. Peel and mince 2 onions and 2 cloves of garlic. Prepare 1 liter of fat-free vegetable broth. Sweat the onion and garlic cloves in a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes. Then add 300g of Arborio rice and mix everything. Pour in 1 ladleful of stock and let the rice soak it up before repeating the process until the starch is cooked. Meanwhile, boil 300g of fresh prawns in a pan (or quickly reheat if already cooked). Once the rice is cooked, add the shrimp, along with 1 tablespoon of lemon (adjust to taste), 1-2 tablespoons of ricotta, and some chopped dill, parsley, or basil, and salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes and serve.