Grana Padano’s celebrity chef partner Francesco Mazzei’s top tips for making authentic, Italian risotto.

mcith_pdano.jpgRisotto with Grana Padano and Saffron

(Serves 4)


350g of carnaroli risotto rice

175ml of dry white wine (I like to use a dry sparkling wine)

50g of salted butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

100g of Grana Padano Riserva

1/2 tsp of saffron (or 1/2 tsp of ground saffron)

1.2L of chicken stock

2tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper

To Serve:

25g Grana Padano Riserva, grated


1.       Start by heating the oil and a little butter in a large sauté pan over a gentle heat. Add the shallots and let them sweat for about 5-10 minutes, until translucent

2.       Then add in the carnaroli risotto rice and toast the rice for a couple of minutes. Make a small hole in the centre of the rice, add ¾ of the white wine, and without stirring, leave the risotto to absorb the liquid until its completely evaporated

3.       Add saffron and a pinch of salt, then gradually add the chicken stock, stirring gently. Leave the risotto to cook gently for 16-18 minutes until al dente. Remove the risotto from the heat and cover it with a lid for 2 minutes

4.       Remove the lid, add 100g of Grana Padano and cold butter and combine for a smooth, creamy finish

5.       Add the remaining wine and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a sprinkling of grated Grana Padano.

Top tips for making risotto:

·         I cook my risotto for 16-18 minutes or until its al dente

·         If you’re adding wine to your risotto, never stir the wine into the risotto rice. Instead, create a small hole in the middle of the rice, pour in the wine and let it evaporate. I also like to add a little wine at the very end, for acidity

·         Once you’ve finished cooking your risotto, leave it to rest for 2 minutes, this produces more starch and a creamier consistency

·         Add cold butter instead of room temperature butter to produce a creamier risotto. Always add the stock gradually as this enables the risotto to release starch

·         When adding the Grana Padano and butter to the risotto, mix the ingredients together energetically to incorporate air for a fluffier texture

 I like to make extra risotto as the leftovers can be used to make arancini

·         Add the Grana Padano rind to the chicken broth to enhance the flavour

What do most people get wrong when cooking risotto?

1.       The biggest mistake people make when cooking risotto is overcooking the rice. For the perfect al dente consistency, cook the risotto for 18-20 minutes

2.       Don’t add the stock all at once, this results in a’rice soup’ which means the rice will be unevenly cooked