For this month’s cooking project, I decided to teach my kids how to make risotto. When I told them, they were pumped! And, as it turns out, they had never tried risotto before, so it was really cool teaching them something totally new in the kitchen.
Risotto seems like an intimidating meal to make to a lot of people, but it’s actually quite simple. It just takes a little time and care to prepare, and, as I just discovered, is actually a great dish to make with kids!
Choosing the Recipe
I love risotto but hardly ever make it at home. I hoped that if my kids learned how to do it, we’d be more likely to include it in our menu in the future. It’s also a pretty basic recipe that I would love my kids to have in their kitchen “toolbox” when they leave home one day.
This recipe was a big winner in the “cooking with kids” department! They had a lot of fun making it and thought the risotto was delicious. When I asked if the recipe was hard, Anna and Cate confidently declared that it was not at all.
Steps Where Kids Can Get Involved
This recipe takes about 40 minutes of hands-on cooking time. The three kids rotated in and out of the process, which worked really well. No one got bored and there was plenty for them to do whenever they wanted to participate.
- Grating the cheese: Owen, my 3-year-old, did some of the grating and when he got bored Anna, my 7-year-old, finished it up.
- Chopping add-ins: Cate is 10 years old, so she was able to help chop the prosciutto and cook the asparagus. It was good practice for her to work on her knife skills.
- Stirring Galore: There is so much stirring in this recipe, which is my kids’ favorite thing to do when cooking. Actually, there is so much stirring they got tired of it — something I never thought could happen! The girls also loved pouring the ladles of broth into the rice.
Usually our recipe tastings don’t stress me out, but this one had me on my toes. After all, the final product was dinner — if the kids didn’t like it, I didn’t know what we were going to eat that night! Thankfully all three kids enjoyed the risotto and Anna even declared it her second favorite food ever, second only to boxed long grain and wild rice mixes.
I used The Kitchn’s tutorial for homemade risotto as a guide and made adjustments to the recipe where necessary. I talked to the kids about how risotto is a great blank canvas for all kinds of flavors and add-ins, especially depending on the season. For example, in the fall I sometimes make Butternut Squash Risotto. Since it’s spring, we all decided to go with asparagus, which is in abundance right now. Prosciutto and asparagus are pretty much made for each other, so we had to throw some prosciutto in, too!
Asparagus and Prosciutto Risotto
Makes: 6 servings
Cook Time: Approximately 40 minutes
6-8 cups chicken stock or broth
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pushed through garlic press
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
5 thick slices prosciutto, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Prep all ingredients ahead of time so they are ready to go when you’re cooking.
2. Heat chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium heat, then keep warm over low heat while you continue with the rest of the recipe.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a deep 12-inch skillet. Add onions and cook over medium heat until they have softened and are translucent. Add garlic and 1 more tablespoon butter and stir.
4. Add rice and raise heat to medium-high. Constantly stirring, cook rice until toasted. You should start to smell the rice toasting and the grains should look clear on the edges, with some white still in the middle of the grain.
5. Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine and cooking until wine evaporates.
6. Add 1 ladle of the chicken stock to the rice. Reduce heat to medium. Keep stirring until most of the stock has been absorbed by the rice, then add another ladle of stock. Repeat this process, until the rice is cooked through (taste testing is necessary!). The rice cooking process will take 20-30 minutes. Towards the end of this process, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the risotto. Do a little at a time and taste it as you go — the saltiness of the chicken stock will depend on how much salt you will need.
7. Once the rice is the texture you like, add the last tablespoon of butter, 1 more ladle of chicken stock, and the Parmesan cheese. Stir and cook until the risotto is a nice creamy texture.
8. Stir in asparagus and prosciutto and serve immediately. (Feel free to experiment with other seasonal add-ins — risotto is a great canvas for all kinds of flavors!)More On