Never-Fail Risotto with Peppers & Pine Nuts

Risotto RecipeI think the reason risotto is an Italian dish is that it takes the patience and stirring power of a small Italian grandmother to get it right. However, this never-fail risotto recipe is surprisingly easy and quick, even without said Italian granny. It’s also super easy to adapt depending on your taste in veggies. I make an alcohol free, vegetarian version (yeah, I know, where’s the sin in that??), but again, adapt away.


  • 2 cups raw arborio rice
  • 1/2 red or yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 6 cups veggie stock (i.e. 3 stock cubes dissolved in 6 cups water) OR 4 cups chicken stock and 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated or powdered)
  • black pepper (I avoid adding salt as the parmesan and the stock are already salty)

Addition options:

  • 1 cup mixed mushrooms (e.g. oyster, crimini, portobello), chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper (sliced thinly)
  • 1/2 yellow or green pepper (sliced thinly)
  • 1/2 courgette (sliced)
  • mixed herbs (fresh or dry)
  • handful of pine nuts


  1. Place your stock (and wine) in a pot and bring to a simmer slowly.
  2. Put the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan or large pot on a medium heat and saute the onion and garlic in some oil
  3. Add the rice to the onion and fry lightly, stirring well (for about 2 minutes or until rice is translucent – I find the longer I fry the rice, the quicker it takes overall – but don’t over fry!)
  4. Slowly (and here’s the “I need an Italian grandmother” part) add about a cup of stock AT A time. Stir constantly until the liquid is properly absorbed before adding another cup. Repeat until your arm falls off/the rice is starting to get fat, rich and creamy. If you taste the rice and it still seems undercooked, then add some more stock or simply use some hot water. I find that if I stir, leave it a teensy bit to start bubbling, then stir again, it also tends to go quicker.
  5. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, lightly fry your chosen veggies until soft in some olive oil. Add some herbs.
  6. When the rice is almost cooked, stir in the parmesan, pepper, and your veggie selection. Mix well.
  7. Add the pine nuts before serving.

Makes excellent leftovers and tastes surprisingly good cold too. This recipe serves about 4 people and probably takes about 40-45 mins (maybe a bit less).


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