Try this classic seafood risotto then check out more risotto recipes, such as our prawn risotto, mushroom risotto, chicken risotto and healthy risotto.

Want to make the best risotto? Risottos sometimes get a bad rap, billed as being time consuming, labour intensive and prone to disaster (no-one likes gluey, over-cooked rice). The reality, however, is far more straightforward. Follow expert tips from our test kitchen to get the perfect risotto every time.

How to make risotto

Which rice do you use for risotto?

Risottos needs a rice high in starch for that essential creamy finish. The two main types used are carnaroli and arborio – both short grains that contain lots of starch and keep their shape and texture once cooked.

Why do you need to stir risotto?

It’s important to stir and agitate the risotto all the way through cooking. The grains rubbing against each other release starch into the sauce, which creates a molten creaminess. It’s best to use a wide, deep frying or sauté pan for this as it means you can keep the rice moving and the wide surface gives the liquid a chance to evaporate evenly.

What temperature is best to cook risotto?

You want to keep everything at a relatively similar temperature when cooking risotto. Coating the rice in oil and frying for a few minutes brings it up to the right temperature quickly, and adding hot stock gradually means the grains cook evenly, keeping their shape without the outside breaking down before the centre is cooked.

Why do you add wine to risotto?

A splash of wine may be something that feels easy to leave out but it will make all the difference to the finished dish. The acidity in the wine will help cut through the richness of the umami-rich stock, starchy rice, parmesan and butter.

Does it matter which stock you use?

The stock is one of the main elements that flavours the risotto. Use the best quality you can, homemade if possible.

Do you need to taste risotto?

It’s important to taste the rice throughout cooking as the rice can easily overcook, and the only way to tell when it’s perfect is by eating some! Use a clean spoon each time you taste for hygiene purposes.

Which toppings should you use?

The classic way to finish risotto is by beating in butter and parmesan (a technique known as mantecare in Italian). The addition of dairy at the end will add richness and bring together all of the flavours, mellowing everything and helping to thicken it slightly. Leave for a few minutes with a lid on to rest before serving.

Risotto recipe


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 200g carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1.2 litres fish or light chicken stock
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 150g mussels or clams
  • 1 cleaned hood squid, cut into 1cm rings
  • 150g raw peeled prawns, butterflied
  • 75g parmesan, finely grated
  • a good knob butter
  • lemon, a squeeze of juice, plus wedges to serve
  • a small handful flat-leaf parsley


  • STEP 1

    Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and add the fennel and a pinch of salt. Cook for 15 minutes until the fennel is soft and starting to caramelise. Tip in the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a minute, then stir in the tomato purée and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until all of the grains of rice are coated in oil and they begin to toast slightly. Pour in the wine and bubble for 2-3 minutes or until reduced slightly.

  • STEP 2

    Put the stock into a pan and heat until just under a simmer. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice, stirring constantly, only adding more once the previous batch has been absorbed. Cook for 15 minutes, then taste the rice. It should be nearly cooked but still a little chalky. Add the cherry tomatoes, mussels, squid and prawns and cook gently until the mussels open and the prawns turn pink, adding more stock so that the risotto stays saucy.

  • STEP 3

    Season and add the parmesan, butter and lemon juice, stirring until melted and combined.

  • STEP 4

    Leave to rest with a lid on for a few minutes, then spoon into shallow bowls, scatter over the parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Try more risotto recipes...

An aerial shot of saffron-coloured risotto on a white plate


Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor

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