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  • Writer's pictureDavid

Chicken Risotto

A classic, wonderful dish that's a lot simpler than you might think

For some reason, risotto has an aura of difficulty surrounding it.

"It takes forever"

"You can't leave it alone"

"It's hard to make."

Total poop! Yes - it needs a bit of stirring every so often, but basically - it takes 5 minutes prep and 20-30 minutes cooking. Taste as you go, don't try to put all the stock in at once and you'll get the perfect risotto.

For me, the ideal risotto has a sharpness to balance the rich, thick creaminess; the rice is soft enough to eat, but with a slightly hard nuttiness. The al dente: you get from adding the stock in stages, keeping an eye on it and tasting as you go. The sharpness is from the white wine as well as the lemon zest and juice.



roughly 200g arborio rice - you can use carnaroli, long grain, basmati - whatever you have. I think arborio or carnaroli give the best results for texture

olive oil



chicken stock - about 1 litre


white wine

chicken breast



Pecorino cheese


Watch the video


  • Finely slice the onion

  • Put a good glug of olive oil in a large frying pan

  • Melt a good knob of butter in it

  • Add the onions - cook for 5 minutes till they're soft

  • Add the rice, stirring it through

  • Cook till the rice is translucent - don't let it burn!

  • Add about a glass of white wine

  • Stir.

  • Contrary to the myth, you don't need to stir risotto constantly - just quite a lot! You're breaking down and releasing the starch, which is what makes it creamy

  • NB - there is NO CREAM in risotto!

  • When the wine is absorbed and the rice is gloopy, add some stock

  • We'll be adding it a bit at a time just enough to cover the rice, then stir, stir, stir and let the rice absorb it

  • Meanwhile, zest the lemon and chop the zest

  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks

  • When the first bit of stock is absorbed, add the lemon zest, some more stock, and...

  • Stir, stir, stir

  • Add the chicken

  • If this was prawn, mackerel, mushroom or whatever risotto, we'd add those things later. Chicken risotto is different - we want to make sure the chicken is cooked. You could cook it first, but I prefer the texture doing it this way

  • When it's gloopy, more stock, and add the juice from the lemon

  • Stir, stir, stir

  • When it's gloopy, check the rice. If it's still not done, add more stock, stir and simmer. If it IS done...

  • Add a good helping of pepper, the chopped parsley and a lot of grated Pecorino

  • The Pecorino and the starch make the risotto beautifully creamy. Pecorino is best as it adds salt, and it melts without going stringy; Parmesan isn't great in risotto.

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