This is a spectacular risotto dish that’s especially good on cold winter nights. There are several different types of Italian rice, but my favorite variety is called Carnaroli because it has a firmer texture and higher starch content, resulting in a creamy flavor. If you cannot find the Carnaroli risotto,  use the varietal of Arborio or Vialone nano rice that may be available in your local market.

Risotto Al Barolo

Barolo is a Piedmont wine made from the nebbiolo grape, and this delicious risotto gives you a taste of authentic Piedment flavors.  For more information on other recipes from the Piedmont region of Italy, check this website:


  • Risotto Carnaroli (Italian). About ½ cup (80 grams) per person.  Thus, for 4-5 people, you would use 2 – 3 cups of uncooked Carnaroli rice –depending how hungry they are.
  • 6-8 cups of beef broth
  • 1 bottle of Barbera, Barolo, or Barbaresco wine. Keep in mind that the quality of the wine makes a big difference in this recipe, so make sure you use one of these excellent Italian varietals.
  • 1 red onion medium size, chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ to 1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  • ½ stick of butter (50g)
  • 1 TB olive oil


  1. Put the meat broth in another covered pot, and heat it until it is almost boiling. As it starts heating, start the next step.
  2. In your large skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium flame. Add the chopped onion, rosemary, bay leaf and cover.  Turn the heat to low and let it cook about12 minutes, until the onion begins to become translucent, but is not brown.  Mix every 3 to 4 minutes, making sure that the onions and herbs do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Remove the cover from the skillet. Turn the flame to high, and add the rice.  Stir constantly with a wooden spatula for about 3 minutes, making sure that the rice is thoroughly coated with the butter and oil.
  4. Add ½ of a bottle of the Barolo wine, and continue to stir as it incorporates with the rice. As it incoprporates (1-2 minutes) add the other ½ of a bottle of the wine.
  5. Once the wine dries up, lower the heat to medium-high. Add a cup of the very hot beef broth, stirring constantly.  As the broth in the pan begins to dry, add more broth, continuing for about 20 to 25 minutes, depending where you are.  In my home in Hawaii, it takes about 20 minutes, but from my home at high altitude in the Sierra Nevada, it takes about 25 minutes.

Look, the best way to know when the risotto is ready is to taste it, so taste the rice every 2 to 3 minutes as you near the 20-minute cooking point.  Keep in mind that the rice will continue to cook once you’ve turned off the flame, so turn it off about 2 minutes before you judge it to be ready.  Otherwise, it will overcook and become Chinese rice –which is good, but it’s another thing!

  1. Add ½ to 1 cup maximum of FRESHLY grated Parmigiano. Butter? “Mantecatura”: add ½ stick of butter at the end that by melting gives a creamy texture. I do not like it, Betti and most people do. You may try truffle butter, gives a nice aroma especially if you do not have real porcini.

Italiano: Risotto al Barolo


  • Circa 1 litro di brodo di carne (vedi ricetta nei brodi)
  • 1 bottiglia di Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, pure il Cirò ci sta bene
  • 1 cipolla rossa a pezzettini
  • 2-3 rametti di rosmarino
  • 2 foglie di lauro
  • Parmigiano grattato ½ cup, massimo 1 cup.
  • Mezzo bastoncino (50g) di burro e 1 cucchiaio di olio d’oliva buono
  • Risotto Carnaroli, circa 80-100 grammi a testa dipende da quanto appetito avete.

Preparazione: Risotto al Barolo/Barbera/ Barbaresco, etc.

Usa una buona casseruola di Ghisa (io uso Staub o Le Creuset), oppure una pentola di rame.

  1. Sciogliere il burro, aggiungere cipolla, lauro e rosmarino, cuocere a fuoco basso 12 minuti coperto. La cipolla deve cominciare a diventare translucida ma non deve diventare marrone. Rimestare ogni 3 minuti circa.
  2. Alzare il fuoco al massimo aggiungere il riso, mischiare costantemente per 3 minuti.
  3. Aggiungere ½ bottiglia di vino, fare incorporare; aggiungere il resto del vino, fare incorporare.
  4. Continuare aggiungendo mestoli di brodo di carne. Sarà pronto in 20-25 minuti, dipende se siete al mare o in montagna. Spegnere 2 minuti prima, perché il riso continua a cuocere anche dopo che avete spento e vi si stracuoce.
  5. Aggiungete circa 60 o 120 grammi di Parmigiano grattugiato al momento, mischiare e buon appetito.