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Basic Microwave Risotto

Prep time 10 mins
Cook time 22 mins
Yield Makes 4 servings (about 3 cups)


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice (short-grain)
  • 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 3 minutes. Stir in rice, and microwave at HIGH 2 minutes.

  2. Stir in 2 3/4 cups broth and 1/4 cup wine. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. (Do not vent). Microwave at HIGH 9 minutes. Carefully swirl bowl without uncovering (to incorporate the mixture), and microwave at HIGH 8 minutes. Carefully remove and discard plastic wrap. Stir in cheese and 1/4 cup chicken broth, stirring 30 seconds to 1 minute or until creamy. Add 1/4 cup additional broth, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary, for desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

  3. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Rice Select Risotto Italian-Style Rice, an 1,100-watt microwave oven, and a 2 1/2-liter glass bowl. We found that self-sealing plastic wraps, such as GLAD Press'n Seal, do not work in these applications.

  4. Cheese-and-Bacon Risotto: Substitute 1 cup freshly shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese for Parmesan cheese. Prepare Basic Microwave Risotto as directed, stirring in 3 Tbsp. jarred diced pimiento, drained, with cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon and 2 thinly sliced green onions just before serving. Makes 4 servings; Prep: 10 min., Cook: 22 min.

  5. Green Pea-and-Asparagus Risotto: Prepare Basic Microwave Risotto as directed. Meanwhile, snap off and discard tough ends of 1/2 lb. asparagus, and cut into 2-inch pieces. Saute asparagus in a lightly greased nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; stir in 1/2 cup frozen sweet green peas, thawed. Stir asparagus mixture, 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 2 tsp. lemon juice into prepared risotto. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings; Prep: 15 min., Cook: 26 min.

  6. Portobello-Spinach Risotto: Prepare Basic Microwave Risotto as directed. Meanwhile, saute 1 (8-oz.) package sliced baby portobello mushrooms in 1 Tbsp. hot olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in 3 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, and cook 1 minute or until wilted. Stir mushroom mixture into prepared risotto. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings; Prep: 10 min., Cook: 29 min.

  7. Parmesan-Squash Risotto: Prepare Basic Microwave Risotto as directed, increasing Parmesan cheese to 1/2 cup. Stir 1 (12-oz.) package frozen cooked squash, thawed and drained, and 3 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil into prepared risotto. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings; Prep: 10 min., Cook: 23 min.