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Risotto… rich and hearty and a little bit special. Yet many people steer clear of making it themselves because it’s a little tricky to get right. Try this chicken and chorizo risotto and discover how easy risotto really is to make at home with a little patience and a few simple tips.
What is it?
Risotto is an Italian dish that combines rice with ingredients such as vegetables, meat, fish or chicken. The rice is slowly cooked with consistent and small additions of stock which combines with the starchiness of the rice to give an impossibly creamy and decadent texture.
This chicken and chorizo risotto combines warming chorizo with tender chicken thigh meat for a delicious and hearty dish. Sweet green peas and roasted tomatoes add extra texture along with a smattering of rosemary and garlic to make a truly decadent meal.
What kind of rice do I need to use?
Risotto requires high-starch short-grain rice to achieve that creamy texture. These varieties also absorb liquids really well and therefore provide a stickier texture.
The most commonly used risotto rice is Arborio, which is commonly available. Other varieties which work really well are Carnaroli and Violane Nano, which are more expensive and revered as the creme de la creme of risotto ingredients. For this recipe Arborio rice will do just fine and, providing you follow the tips below, you’ll have a restaurant-worthy result.
How do I make perfect risotto?
There are a few things you can do to make sure you have a perfectly cooked dish, every time:
- Use warm stock. Cold stock won’t cook through as evenly and the texture won’t be as creamy
- Use the right ratio of rice to stock. You need around 4x more stock than rice by volume (eg, 1 cup of rice = 4 cups of stock). You can always add more if needed during cooking.
- Deglaze with acid. After sautéing your soffritto (a mixture of diced onion and other vegetables often used as the base), deglaze the pan with wine. This will help to loosen any bits stuck on the bottom of the pan (which adds loads of flavour). Plus, the acidity adds an extra flavour dimension. If you don’t cook with wine, then you can use a little lemon juice.
- Toast the rice. This helps to preserve the texture of the rice by sealing the edges. This will stop it absorbing the liquid too quickly and turning mushy.
- Use a wide pan rather than a smaller and deeper one. This will help the dish to cook more evenly.
- Stir regularly, but not too much. Stirring is essential as it helps agitate the rice which results in the grains rubbing together and releasing starch from the surface of the grains. This is vital for the creamy texture. However, if you stir too often it can make it turn more gluey than lightly sticky. One stir per minute is more than enough.
- Don’t rush it. Adding the liquid slowly allows it to be fully absorbed into the rice grains, leaving you with creamy rice and avoiding a sloppy liquid at the bottom of the dish. However, you don’t need to overdo it – around 15 minutes of time after you’ve added the first ladle of stock is enough, with a few minutes at the end to let everything come together.
How do I know when my risotto is done?
Getting the right texture is the most difficult part of the process. You should expect to cook the risotto for around 18 minutes to achieve this (give or take a couple of minutes). The first thing to note is the texture of the rice. It should be al dente – cooked but still slightly firm.
The texture of the dish should also be creamy and oozing. It shouldn’t be dry enough that you can mold it into a shape and you should be able to drag a wooden spoon through the mixture and see it slowly flow back into place rather than stick in place. When you pile it onto a plate it should also spread evenly out, but not have any liquid seeping out.
If it’s too dry you can add a little more stock, or even water, until you get the consistency you want. If it’s too liquid but the rice is done, then turn up the heat to quickly evaporate some of the juices.
Can I make it in advance?
Risotto is the kind of dish that should be made to order, not in advance. However, you can safely make it in advance, the texture just won’t be quite as creamy and may turn stickier.
Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated on the hob/stove, oven or in the microwave. Make sure it is steaming hot before eating. Add a splash of stock if it is starting to dry out. I don’t recommend freezing it as the rice will turn very hard when defrosted.
For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Balsamic vinegar
- Red onion, finely diced
- Chorizo, diced
- Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
- Risotto rice – Arborio is a great choice
- Rosemary, leaves stripped from stems and finely chopped
- White wine
- Chicken stock
- Frozen peas
- Parmesan, freshly grated
How to make it
For more detailed steps with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Drizzle the tomatoes in a little olive oil and the balsamic vinegar and roast for 15 minutes.
- Sauté the onion in a wide pan until slightly softened. Add the chorizo and chicken and cook until the chicken is sealed and the chorizo is starting to crisp.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the rice and rosemary and cook for around a minute before pouring in the wine.
- After the rice has reduced by half add the stock one ladeful at a time, only adding the next once the liquid is nearly fully absorbed. Stir around once per minute.
- Once the rice is al-dente (soft with a little bite) and the texture is creamy but not too dry add a final ladel of stock and the peas. Leave for a further 2-3 minutes before removing from the heat and stirring in the parmesan and tomatoes.
- Serve immediately.
Looking for more great Italian recipes? Try:
- Salmon risotto
- Red pesto pasta
- Chicken and chorizo pasta
- Italian salsa verde
- Caprese bruschetta
- Beetroot gnocchi
Products that work well for this recipe:
6 Sided Grater with Container
Cole & Mason Herb Keeper
Beeswax Food Wraps
Try this chicken and chorizo risotto and discover how easy super tasty risotto really is to make at home with a little patience and a few simple tips.
The default recipe serves 4
- 100g / 3.5oz cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- 100g / 3.5oz chorizo, diced
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced or crushed
- 400g / 14oz arborio rice (see note 1)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves (see note 2)
- 250ml white wine (see note 3)
- 1l / 4 cups chicken stock
- 100g / 3.5oz frozen peas
- 50g / 1.75oz parmesan, finely grated (see note 4)
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Lay the tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a small amount of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Pour the stock into a saucepan and place over medium-low heat to keep warm throughout the cooking process.
- Heat the olive oil in a wide pan and then saute the onion for 2 minutes.
- Add the chorizo and chicken to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the chicken is sealed all over and the chorizo has started to crisp slightly.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before tipping in the rice and rosemary. Toast the rice for one minute before pouring in the wine.
- After the wine has bubbled and reduced by half, add a ladleful of the stock and stir. Once the stock has been nearly fully absorbed add another ladleful.
- Continue this process, stirring around once every minute, until the rice is al-dente (soft but with a little bite) and the consistency is creamy yet oozing. This should take around 18 minutes from the first addition of the stock. If you run out of stock before it is ready you can add water instead. (see note 5)
- Once cooked add the peas and one final ladle of liquid and leave to cook for 2-3 more minutes.
- Remove the risotto from the heat and add the parmesan and season well. Stir through the tomatoes and then serve immediately with extra parmesan scattered over the top.
- You can also use Carnaroli or Violane Nano, or any rice which is simply labelled as risotto rice.
- Fresh rosemary gives a far superior result than dried, but if you only have dried herbs use half the amount. You can also use thyme instead if preferred.
- If you don’t cook with wine then you can use a little lemon juice instead to deglaze the pan and add a little acidity and flavour.
- Make sure to grate the parmesan yourself rather than buy it pre-grated. The pre-grated varieties have additives to prevent it from clumping, which also stops it from melting as well.
- The risotto is ready when the rice is al dente and you can drag a spoon through the middle of the pan and the mixture oozes back into place. It should also spread out when spooned onto a plate, but not have any liquid seeping out.
- For best results serve freshly cooked. Leftovers can be frozen (although the texture won’t be as creamy after reheating). Store for 3 days in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or on the hob/stove. Add a splash of water or stock if needed. Freezing is not recommended as the rice will harden.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Hob / Stove
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 910
- Fat: 35g
- Carbohydrates: 85g
- Protein: 48g
Keywords: risotto, chorizo, chicken, italian, rice, dinner, peas