Student Cookery Guide – Risotto

This should serve 6. (See what to do with leftovers if you’re not cooking for 6.)


in mind that you won’t be using all of it so this is an initial outlay.
Also remember that it’s usually more economical to buy a larger size.
And that own brand will almost always be cheaper than named products.

  • Risotto Rice (half a mug per person) – 0.86
  • 1 litre Stock (homemade or marigold) – 1.48
  • Ordinary Olive Oil (not extra virgin) – 4.11*
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • A medium-sized onion – 0.69
  • 2x cloves garlic – 0.20
  • 1 x glass white wine – 3.49

Optional extras

  • Fresh parmesan (grate it yourself) – 1.50
  • Butter – 0.81
  • Lardons/ Cubetti di Pancetta – 1.991

Now I freely admit that maths has never been my strong
suite but I reckon that makes it (at basic) about 2.69 for the whole
dish, that’s 45p per serving, and 5.38 ish for the deluxe version,
that’s 90p per serving.

But, of course, you are looking at a larger intial outlay.

Your choice of vegetables

I’d just pick one at a time if I were you, unless you’re confident about flavour combinations.

  • Peas (frozen) – 0.76
  • Leeks – 1.28
  • Fennel – 1.29
  • Endives/chicory – price not found
  • Raddichio – price not found
  • Lettuce (trust me on this one) – 0.39
  • Butternut squash – 1.52
  • Courgette – 1.99

Time Taken

About 10 minutes of chopping followed by 30–40 minutes of standing at the stove constantly stirring.

Equipment Needed

  • Chopping Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • 2 large saucepans
  • 1 x ladle
  • 1 x flat-edged spatular


  1. Finely chop your onion and garlic (keep them seperate)
  2. Chop your vegetable of choice if necessary
  3. Make your stock and keep in warm on a v low heat on the stove with a lid on to prevent evaporation.
  4. Heat about 2 tbsps of olive oil in the other saucepan until it’s warm (not too hot or smoking)
  5. Gently fry the onion in the oil
  6. After 8 or so minutes add the garlic and your vegetable (unless it’s the peas)
  7. Fry for roughly 2 minutes
  8. If you are using lardons add them now and cook until crispy
  9. Add your rice to the pan and stir until each grain is coated with oil
  10. Dry fry for as long as you dare
  11. When it looks like it’s about to stick add your glass of white wine
  12. Stir to prevent the rice catching
  13. When there is no liquid left in the pan add a ladle-full of the hot stock and repeat the process
  14. Keep going for about 20 minutes trying the rice occassionally to see whether it’s done
  15. It may take as long as 30 minutes
  16. When the rice is al-dente (not chalky but not mushy) you are ready to finish the dish.
  17. If you are using peas add them now
  18. If you are using the optional extras then add a knob of butter, two tablespoons of grated parmesan
  19. Season with salt and pepper and stir
  20. Take the saucepan off the heat and put on a tight-fitting lid2
  21. Leave it for 5 minutes
  22. Then serve

What to do with leftovers

arancini (Italian for little oranges). Now technically you’re supposed
to deep fry these – and they’re also supposed to be the size of little
oranges and have little bits of mozarella or ham in the middle – but
here’s what I do:

When the leftover risotto has cooled down
i.e the next day, or when you get in from the pub, pre-heat the oven to
200 degrees C and get out a baking tray. Oil it and put a little bit of
oil on your hands. Then make walnut-sized balls of risotto and put them
on the baking tray. Cook them for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside.

Serve with salad or other veg or eat as a post drinking munchie.

*WTF?! Much cheaper at any other supermarket. DON’T buy olive oil at Tescos.

I would always go for organic meat where possible. You have more idea
what’s in it. And if you eat mainly veggy then it’s easier to allow
yourself the extra expense occassionally. Similarly I would always go
for organic free range eggs.

2. If you don’t have a tight-fiiting lid then cover the pan with foil and put the lid on top.

6 Responses to “Student Cookery Guide – Risotto”
  1. Max Hammond says:

    Nice idea, Casey. I feel the need to contribute 🙂

    A word about oils

    oil isn’t normally the first choice for frying, because it can’t take a
    high temperature before it starts to char (technically, it has a low
    “smoke point”), but it works well for dishes like this where you are
    very gently sauting (frying with no depth of oil) onions or other
    things that you want cooked slowly.

    If you want a fuller
    flavour, you can fry in butter. Normal butter will burn long before you
    can fry anything, so you can either use clarified (white) butter or,
    more usually, use a mixture of butter and a little oil.

    you want to really fry, or saut stuff to stay crunchy you’d typically
    use vegetable oil (I like sunflower oil). For stir-frying, groundnut
    oil is great (it can take a ferocious temperature, which is what you
    want for stir-fry).

  2. Dan Goodman says:

    recipe. One thing you could add is that it could be cheaper to use
    vermouth instead of wine. It’s cheaper because a bottle stays OK for

    I haven’t tried fennel, endives, raddichio or
    lettuce yet in a risotto. Might give some of those a go, although I’m a
    bit sick of risotto at the moment having made it countless times over
    the last few years.

    Possibly also add mushrooms as an
    excellent choice of ‘vegetable’. Using reconstituted dried mushrooms
    and vermouth means you can always have the ingredients for a risotto

    Using a reasonably large quantity of red wine instead
    of some of the stock can also be quite nice with mushrooms, bacon or

  3. Casey Leaver says:

    Ooops – that would be my anti-mushroom prejudice showing…

    Good tip about the vermouth!

  4. Cheers Casey, if i can stem off the horror of cooking for 50 whole minutes, i might just give it a shot 🙂

  5. Casey Leaver says:

    Point taken 😀

    The next one will be shorter!

  6. Castor Oil says:

    recipe…as was pointed out earlier, quite a longish one, but thanks for
    taking the time to put the entire recipe across…will try it sometime

    Vic, Castor Oil Online

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