Can You Cook Risotto in a Cast Iron Skillet?

Do you love Italian food? If you are anything like us, then Italian cuisine is your favorite! However, we can all eat a little too much pasta from time to time, so if you want a delicious substitute to eating pasta, then why not try a risotto? 

Risotto is a creamy italian rice dish loved by many! With a blend of herbs, butter, cheese, veggies and lots of other flavors, risotto can be a taste sensation. However, risotto does have a notorious reputation for being difficult to cook, because if you burn the rice or overcook it slightly, the whole thing is ruined! 

Overstir the dish, and you will lose its creamy, rich texture, and you never want it too soft, or too hard. It can be so difficult to hit that sweet spot and cook risotto just right! So, what can you do to make cooking risotto easier? Well, why not try cooking it in a different pan, or skillet, such as a cast iron one? 

With this guide, we will tell you if you can use a cast iron skillet for making risotto, and exactly how to perfect this dish. But, first, let’s take a look at what makes a risotto so good. 

What is a risotto?

Risotto is just an Italian dish with a creamy, soft texture much like mac and cheese. Unlike other rice dishes, where you would boil the rice in hot water, risotto is made by slowly adding a little bit of liquid at a time. This is so the rice can release starch and create a natural creamy, velvety, rich texture and flavor. 

Most risotto dishes are cooked with butter, cheese and onions to give it more of a full bodied flavor, however, you can make risotto with a variety of different ingredients. Some risottos will be made with veggies, whereas others can be made with meat such as lobster, fish or chicken. Some common ingredients are mushrooms, garlic, parmigiano reggiano, shallots, butter, seafood, and vegetable broth. 

The most important thing is using special arborio rice, and the right cookware, otherwise the results just will not be the same. 

Can you cook risotto in a cast iron skillet?

Yes, you can cook risotto in a cast iron skillet, as a heavy bottomed cast iron is best. This is because a cast iron can retain heat exceptionally well, which is perfect for cooking the rice properly. 

A cast iron skillet is best for cooking risotto, as this dish takes a long time to cook. With risotto, you will need to pay close attention and watch while it simmers. For the perfect risotto, you will have to add hot stock to the rice, just a ladleful at a time, and stir this slowly, with a steady heat source. This will cook the rice to perfection, and allow the stock to become absorbed and add flavor.

This is why cast iron cookware is so effective for risotto, as once it gets hot, it maintains that temperature consistently. This is great for simmering your risotto, as you add more stock time and time again until it is done. 

What is the best pan for cooking risotto?

The best pan for cooking risotto is a cast iron skillet. For the best results, you are going to want to use a 12 inch cast iron skillet over a medium heat.

How to cook risotto in a cast iron skillet?

Mushroom risotto is a firm favorite among many, so why not try out this recipe in your cast iron skillet? For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 medium sized cast iron skillet
  • 8 oz of mushrooms (your choice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper (pinch)
  • 4 tbsp butter & 2 tbsp butter (divided)
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp minced shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 ½ cups Arborior rice
  • ½ cup of dry white wine
  • Pinch of parmesan cheese

To perfect this dish simply take 8 oz of mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed, and sizzle them in a cast iron skillet. 

Add a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute on a medium heat for about 7-8 minutes, or until browned. Once this is done, remove them from the skillet, and set to one side. 

Then, take a small sauce pot, and warm up 4 cups of vegetable broth on low heat. With your now empty cast iron skillet, add 4 tbsp of butter, and melt it. Then, add some fresh sage leaves and cook for about 4-5 minutes until it starts to brown. 

Next, add in 2 tbsp of butter, and 2 tbsp of minced shallots and saute. Then, throw in three cloves of garlic, cooking for one minute. This is the important part. Add in 1 and ½ cups of arborio rice, cooking and stirring a little for about two minutes.

Then, you can add ½ cup of white wine to your cast iron, and leave to reduce for about 2 or 3 minutes. At this point, you can start slowly adding in the warm broth just one ladleful at a time until it absorbs into the rice. Keep doing this until all of the liquid is completely absorbed, and the rice is cooked pretty al dente. This normally takes about 18 minutes, and should use up all of the broth! 

Once your rice is done, throw the mushrooms back in, along with some parmesan cheese and stir until mixed in. Top with some salt and pepper, and you are ready to serve!