Daring Risotto

Risotto Ingredients

Some of the main ingredients: Butter, powdered sage and Arborio rice.

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

The thing about challenges… oh wait, I’ve already done that one. Heh. This is my first Daring Cooks challenge, and its poking me right where it hurts. After seeing the previous challenges, and even trying one as a test, I was really hoping to try making some new crazy cuisine. Instead, I’ve been put face to face with my nemesis: risotto.

I’m not hating on risotto, but I really haven’t had much success making it. Honestly, I sometimes think it’s O.K. the day I make it, and then HATE it for leftovers and never want to see it again. I’ve tried it a few times, and have hated it every time.

This is the perfect thing for me to start with.

I’m supposed to be challenged, right? It’s supposed to be at least a little bit hard, and sometimes frustrating. It’s supposed to be a learning experience. So I have jumped into it wholeheartedly. What did I learn? That my old risotto recipe sucks (yup), but that I am still not excited to make risotto (fair enough). My attempt came out pretty good, and I chose some accompaniments that nicely brought out the flavour and accented the texture of the dish. Not bad! That said, I wasn’t brimming with the same pride I had after trying the salmon en croute, or the indian or ethiopian feasts.

A great learning experience, indeed, and definitely a successful meal.


Squash risotto topped with garlic mushrooms, sage butter and arugula.

Part of the challenge was to make the stock from scratch, and while the recommended stock was made with a whole chicken, that would not be the route I would take. Not being a real meat person, I opted to make a mushroom stock, which turned out really tasty! It added a nice woody flavour to the dish. I got inspiration from this recipe, but ended up choosing my own adventure for most of it.

So there is the result of my first challenge. It was a good learning experience, which is what I am looking for with the challenges, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we do next month!

Recipe for the base risotto after the jump…

Risotto Base


  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, quatered
  • 1 3/4c risotto rice (I used Arborio, but they also suggested Vialone Nano, Carnaroli, etc.)
  • 4tbsp white wine
  • 4cups chicken or vegetable stock (I kept this simmering on the stove as I cooked – I heard warm stock makes a better risotto)


1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don’t actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.

8 thoughts on “Daring Risotto”

  1. congratulations on your first daring cooks challenge. it looks amazing.
    I love the idea with the stock and understand your problem with the risotto.
    It took me a little time to find the right risotto for me.
    again it looks delicious.

  2. Congrats on your 1st DCs challenge and welcome and hello to the Daring Kitchen.

    WOW I love the idea of the mushroom stock well done. Your final risotto looks scrumptious and the first photo of the ingredients looks like it should be in a cook book. Wondrous effort on this your first challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. I love the mushroom stock idea: I’m going to try that — it would be especially good if I do the mushroom/truffle risotto again.
    I’m sorry you weren’t converted to a risotto lover: I was looking at some photos of arancini on the DC forum and thinking it would be a great way to use up leftovers, and that might work for you since you especially don’t like the leftovers. Plus as far as I’m concerned everything is better fried!!

  4. Thanks for all of the comments!! Its funny… I actually wrote the post right after making the risotto, and I think I’ve warmed up to it since then. For sure, this recipe is a much better one than the one I used before.

    I do think I let it get a little ‘gluggy’. I think I know what to look for now, and it should be even better the next time I try it. Also, I will definitely try the arancini – sound soooo good!

    I also made a sweet risotto, inspired by Indian Kheer, with cardamom, vanilla, vanilla rum and pistachios. It was really yummy, but I didn’t take photos.

  5. Congrats on a first DC challenge more than well done! Your risotto and photos are marvelous! Love the squash paired with sage and garlic (YUM) mushrooms 🙂

  6. Congrats on a challenge well done. The challenges are supposed to take us out of our comfort zone – for me it was making stock from scratch. Glad to see it turned out so well for you – and I LOVE the idea of using mushrooms as base for stock. Going to try that next time.

  7. hi! Steph’s husband/guinea pig here.

    the risotto turned out pretty awesome, it was the flavoury sage butter drizzled on top that really sealed the deal for me. and it made for amazing leftovers too!

    i think her next self-imposed risotto challenge will involve a seafood stock. can’t wait for that one 🙂

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