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The perfect risotto

Photo: Felicity Cloake, The Guardian

Photo: Felicity Cloake, The Guardian

I’ve given up on risotto (and become progressively worse at making paella).

Risotto is one of those fiddly dishes that, despite being advertised as a quick and easy supper, can so easily go wrong. Indeed, I’ve had serious, violent arguments about rice, leading to one party storming off in an enormous huff; all I really know is how to reheat it.

In today’s Guardian Word of Mouth blog, Felicity Cloake gets an expert masterclass in how to make risotto from Eric Chauvet, executive chef of the Carluccio’s group. “He kicks off with a splash of vegetable oil, which draws a gasp of horror from a woman in the front row.”

Once the details are fine-tuned, Felicity ends up with something akin to a risotto, but it pleases her anyway. Check it out here.

Do you have any risotto tips?


  1. Ooo, I make risotto all the time and have never had a problem. I guess my tips would be to use butter, although this contradicts the above oil! Coat the rice in it, add a splash of martini before starting with the gradual additions of stock. Gradual is the key..! Make sure you each ladle of stock is absorbed before adding another. In terms of additional ingredients, there’s so many to choose from that I just love risotto, great for using up some random veg. And don’t forget the Parmesan!

  2. After years of serving wallpaper paste masquerading as risotto, here are my tips. Chain yourself to the stove (all good wives are already chained to it 😀 ) and do not leave it until you have been there for at least 20 minutes. Keep a pot of stock bubbling, not boiling, and as Lydia said, add it gradually to the rice.

  3. I agree with both Lydia and Claire. I find the Jamie Olliver recipe to be fairly foolproof.

  4. All good advice. Listen to Jamie, and an Italian friend helped me too. I always use olive oil and put a tablespoon of butter in at the end. I make a lovely seafood risotto with fish stock and white fish and squid.

  5. Chained to the stove is right! Stir stir stir… is the only way.

  6. Jamie Oliver does… Venice did an amazing base risotto the other evening. Maybe try and catch it on the C4 website for a tutorial.

  7. there’s a whole chapter in Heston Blumenthal’s book further adventures in search of perfection about risotto- which rice to use and how ect he visits Gualtiero Marchesi for advice. Its worth a look at.

  8. I’ll second the ‘stand over the stove’ bit – risotto is really easy, but you do have to keep stirring it and watching it and can’t just leave it to bubble away. Just enjoy the 20 minutes of gentle spacing out while stirring, and you’ll be fine. 🙂

  9. I agree with Jean, its like kneading dough – or painting walls… one of those tasks that you can do while lost in your own thoughts; cooking as therapy!