Olive Garden Risotto

Olive Garden Risotto

Total Time: 30 min

cook: 30 min(s)

Serves 4


1 1/2 cup(s) Arborio rice
1/2 cup(s) White wine
5 cup(s) Chicken or vegetable broth
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup(s) Yellow onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Butter or cream
1/2 cup(s) Parmesan cheese


Heat the butter, add onions and cook 3 minutes.

In a separate pot, keep the broth warm.

Add the rice to the onions and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the white wine and let evaporate.

Add the broth, about 1/2 cup at a time stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed by the rice.

Cook approximately 18 to 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, add butter or cream and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine with rice.

Source: Olive Garden website, Italian Recipe Box page, 2002.

In addition to Arborio rice, you can make a very good risotto using Calrose variety medium grain rice. It has enough starch to create a creamy risotto. Calrose is also used as a sushi rice. I’ve also made a very good rice pudding with Calrose. You can get Calrose at Walmart. Calrose rice is not a brand, it’s a variety of rice grown in California’s Sacramento delta. Some of the brands of rice carrying Calrose are Botan, Diamond, Hinode, Nishik, Golden Star. I’ve seen Botan brand of Calrose rice at Walmart. Calrose rice is less expensive than Arborio rice. You can’t make risotto with long grain rice, it doesn’t have enough starch to make the creamy sauce that risotto is famous for.

How do restaurants make risotto ahead so that a customer doesn’t have to wait 20 minutes for an order?

To make quick risotto for a customer, restaurants partially cook it earlier and place it in the fridge. They then finish cooking it when ordered. It only takes about half the time to serve with this method. Below is a recipe that Gordon Ramsay uses, on his TV programs, to serve risotto quickly. I got the recipe from a British TV website that carries his shows over there.

Gordon Ramsays quick “restaurant method” of preparing risotto.

This is the quick method that he used to prepare risotto for the F Word TV restaurant on his TV series, according the British TV (ITV) website.
It is also used on the Helll’s Kitchen series to make their quick risotto. They are preparing partially cooked risotto and finishing it in a few
minutes. Here’s the recipe:


400g (about 1 lb - 2 cups) risotto rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
1 litre (about 4 cups) brown chicken (or vegetable) stock
150g (about 1-1/4 cups) shelled broad (fava) beans
150g (about 1-1/4 cups) peas (or petits pois), thawed if frozen
50g (about 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra shavings to serve
25g (about 1-1/2 Tbs) butter, cut into cubes
handful fresh chives(optional), chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the risotto, wash the rice in cold water and strain off. Put into a pan with 500ml (about 2 cups) of chicken stock, 500ml (about 2 cups) water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a simmer and blanch the rice for 7 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a lightly oiled tray to cool down. Store, covered, in fridge for up to 24-hours.

To finish the risotto, place the blanched rice in a shallow pan and pour in just enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to the boil quickly and cook, stirring frequently, until nearly all of the stock has evaporated. Taste the risotto to see if is al dente, adding a little more stock if it needs a bit more cooking. Add the broad beans, peas, Parmesan and a few knobs of butter. Cook for a further few minutes until the beans are tender. Season to taste. Finally add the fresh chives if desired.[/i]

The second half of this recipe takes about 10 minutes.

This uses 2 cups of rice so it should make 4 main dish servings or 6 side dish servings.The basic point of this recipe is to do most of the work making risotto ahead of time. This technique is mainly used in restaurants. The rice is cooked partially, refrigerated and then finished, quickly when the dish is ordered. That’s why it is refrigerated. Just for storage. Using this method gets the risotto to the customer quickly, they don’t have to wait 20 or 30 minutes for fresh risotto to be made.

If you are cooking the risotto from beginning to end at home, I would just use a regular risotto recipe. You could use the recipe above and just cook it until it’s done without the refrigeration part.

This recipe comes from the British TV website that produces Gordon Ramsay’s programs.

Here’s the easiest method that I’ve found to make risotto. The microwaves do all the stirring.

Microwave Risotto

Easy to make Risotto using the microwave. A lot of stirring is not necessary when
making risotto in the microwave, it does most of the work.


3 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste, careful chicken broth can be salty)
1 pinch ground white or black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup uncooked medium grain white rice like Calrose or arborio (don’t use regular long grain rice, it doesn’t have enough starch to make risotto)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
cooked peas (optional)


Combine the chicken broth, salt and pepper in a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup. Bring almost to a boil in the microwave.
Remove from microwave and set aside until needed below.

In a 2-qt microwaveable casserole dish, heat the butter and olive oil in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Add the onion to the dish, and stir to coat. Cook in the microwave for 4 more minutes.

Add the uncooked rice, and stir to coat with oil. Cook for another 4 minutes.

Pour the heated pyrex measuring cup of chicken broth into the rice, and stir.

Cook in the microwave for 9 minutes.

Stir, then microwave for another 9 minutes.

If you want a creamier risotto, add 1/4 cup of warm water, and cook for another 2 minutes.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese as soon as it comes out of the microwave, (add cooked peas, if desired) and serve.

For a 750-watt microwave, use 100% power settings for each time interval. For 1000 or 1500-watt microwaves, use 70% power settings for each time interval.

I haven’t made this, but it sounds really good. This is a recipe from a few years ago on the Chowhound website:

[i]Absolute Best Risotto You Will EVER Eat: Toasted Pistachio Gorgonzola Dolce

Immodestly this is the best risotto that I have ever eaten. I have had risotto at Al Soriso and Dal Pescatore (Michelin three stars), Battebecco and Bitone (one stars in Bologna), da Fiore (one star in Venezia) as well as at least a half dozen more starred restaurants in Italy. I also won a major cooking contest with it several years ago.

I post this because of an earlier discussion about “pressure cooker” risotto and the current risotto discussion. For those on this board who are into cooking make this EXACTLY the way I describe. Don’t make it if you CHANGE ANYTHING. This is expensive and somewhat time consuming but it will be the most intensely flavorful dish of its kind that you will ever eat. Again, make absolutely certain that you use EXACTLY the ingredients that I describe. As much as anything this is a technique dish but when you get it down you will absolutely WOW your friends or customers.


From Joe Heflin

1 pound vialone nano arborio rice (carneroli is acceptible as substitution)
1/4 cup olive oil (as good as you can find, i.e. Badia Coltibuono, Castello di Ama, etc.)
1 sweet onion (Vidalia, Texas Sweet, etc.) finely chopped to equal one cup
1 1/2 cups chardonnay (I use Beringer or a wine at least equal to this-NOT a cheap wine.)
2 cups chicken stock (REAL chicken stock, not from a can or a cube)(frozen chicken stock that sells for $3.99 for 8 ozs. is OK) Use WARM chicken stock that you keep heated in a separate pot over low heat.
7/8 pound Gorgonzola DOLCE (NOTE: You MUST use the dolce, no other gorgonzola will do. Don’t make this if you can’t find it!!!) The gorgonzola
should be broken up into pieces or one to two inch soft chunks that have sat at room temperature for an hour or more.
1/2 pound unsalted butter (Pleugra, Kate’s, European, absolute best you can find.) I slice the butter one inch thick and let the slices sit at room temperature for at least an hour.
1/2 cup toasted (in oven for 3-4 minutes at 325 degrees) pistachios, chopped that you have shelled yourself. Use everything, chopped nut and “dust” but remember you want these for crunch as well as flavor. I might even use a bit more than this. Use unsalted pistachios.
10 ozs. Reggiano Parmegiano grated which will equal about three cups in volume. Grate this yourself from the best and most moist brick you can

I use an All Clad 3 1/2 quart pan and a wooden spoon with a flat side for stirring.

In the sauce pan over medium to medium high heat (6 to 7 on a scale of 10) heat olive oil.
Add onions until they sweat (several minutes). Add rice and toast stirring constantly as it cooks for two minutes or so.
Add wine and cook until completely reduced stirring frequently. When the wine has completely disappeared start adding stock one ladle at a time (about 2/3 cup) and cook stirring constantly until the rice absorbs the stock. Repeat until all of the stock is absorbed.

After 8 or 9 minutes of this add the gorgonzola dolce. Continue to stir the cheese into the mixture for another four minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, toasted pistachios and reggiano. Gently stir all together thororughly.

Serve by itself in a large white plate or pasta bowl. This is extremely filling and very intensely flavored. The above recipe will serve at least eight because of this. Again do NOT make this if you cannot find EXACTLY the ingredients called for. This is risotto as an art.

Please post on here your results if you make it EXACTLY as I state. I am sorry to be so overbearing but I have friends who try to take shortcuts and they don’t understand why “mountain” gorgonzola doesn’t have the sweetness or even the creamy texture of dolce or grana tastes different than reggiano. All arborio rice is not the same. If you take the time and trouble this is a dish that could be served at a three Michelin starred restaurant.[/i]

Chef Raymond Blanc’s Tomato risotto

Chef Raymond Blanc was the host of the BBC
series “Last Restaurant Standing” and
“Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets”.


2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 garlic clove, crushed
200g / 17-1/2 oz risotto rice, such as carnaroli
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g / 5oz butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm / 1/2-in cubes
300ml / 10-1/2 fl oz water
300ml / 10-1/2 fl oz tomato essence
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 baby fennel, sliced
2 baby courgettes, halved lengthways and sliced into 1cm / 1/2-in thick pieces
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
80g / 3oz peas
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
4 tsp freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
4 tbsp fresh micro leaves

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. Heat a pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and gently fry the onion for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute.

  3. Add the rice, stirring well to coat in the olive oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice is translucent. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Add the butternut squash to the pan and mix well. Add the water and half of the tomato essence, then bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.

  5. Place the remaining tomato essence into a saucepan and warm through.

  6. Meanwhile, place the halved cherry tomatoes onto a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just tender and collapsed slightly.

  7. By now, the rice should have absorbed all of the liquid. Remove the lid and stir well. Add the courgettes and coriander seeds and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the peas, mascarpone and parmesan and stir well, adding a little extra tomato essence if the risotto is too dry.

  8. To serve, spoon the risotto into a small serving bowl. Top with a few roasted tomatoes, a little sprinkling of parmesan and some micro leaves. Spoon over the warmed tomato essence.

Source: BBC Food website

Nigella Lawson’s Squink (Squid Ink) Risotto

The whole point of this risotto is that it’s tinted black by the squid ink (the squink of my title) and I had no desire to lessen its impact with some pallid white wine. What’s more, squid ink is so richly, headily flavoured that nothing less than a robust red would stand up to it. While I am more than happy to eat it plain black, I can’t help feeling cheered by the jaunty tricolore adornment provided by the squid rings, red chilli pepper and parsley.


1 litre / 1-3/4 pints vegetable stock, preferably organic
8 tsp olive oil
6 spring onions, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled
250g / 9oz risotto rice
125ml / 5fl oz red wine
2 sachets squid ink (available from fishmongers or delicatessens)
1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
250g / 9oz (cleaned weight) baby squid, cut into fine rings
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
small handful chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Preparation method

1.Heat the stock through and keep warm in a saucepan over the lowest heat.

2.Warm 6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons) of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a low heat and fry the sliced spring onions until softened for 2 minutes. Keep stirring and don’t let them burn.

3.Grate in the garlic and turn up the heat. Toss in the rice and turn it in the oil so it is slicked and shiny.

4.Pour in the red wine and let it bubble up over the rice.

5.Wearing disposable gloves, snip the sachet of squid ink and add to the rice. Carefully dunk the squeezed-out sachets into the separate pan of hot stock to get out any remaining ink.

6.Add and keep adding ladlefuls of the hot stock to the rice, letting one ladleful be absorbed before adding the next, stirring all the while.

7.When the rice has had 15 minutes, you can be less assiduous on the stirring front and get on with the squid.

8.In a frying pan, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and the chilli until sizzling, then add the squid rings and cook, stirring or shaking the pan a little, for 3 minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

9.By this time, the black risotto should be ready, so divide it between warmed shallow bowls or plates, top with the fried chilli and squid and scatter with the parsley.

Source: BBC Food website.