Guest Post: Perfect Risotto in the Microwave

I know. You’re probably experiencing a similar reaction to what I experienced the first time Emily told me that risotto (made in a microwave) is a staple in her dinner rotation – a little excited, and a little skeptical. Risotto scares me, but throwing a microwave into the mix takes away the intimidation factor and adds some intrigue. But here’s the thing.  I trust Emily’s taste because she’s an incredible cook and gives me lots of inspiration both in and outside the kitchen. And then, when I saw the finished product, I realized she just might be onto something and that it would be selfish of me to keep the secret to myself. So here she is!


Let me just say one thing first. This “guest post” has been a long time coming. I’ve been promising to make an appearance on Beth’s Journey for what could be 100 years (full disclosure – it is more like 6 months). The jury is still out on whether or not I am a qualified guest (full disclosure – I got called for jury duty last week and sat on a trial).

A quick introduction: My name is Emily. I grew up in rural Ohio (Yes, I know Amish people. No I am not Amish. Yes I owned goats.) I played Division-I soccer in college. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine. I’ve lived in DC for 2 years. I have a great husband. I met Beth at work almost 2 years ago, and we’ve been pals ever since.

So, now that you know me, lets get down to brass tacks, as they say.  I have a little treat for you. Here is a hint. It involves risotto. And a microwave. Yes, you read that right. Risotto in a microwave. If we are being 100% honest here, I grew up in a house without a microwave and I’m not going to lie – microwaves used to scare me a bit. I also grew up in a house with a mother who was/is an incredible cook. The New Basics cookbook was a staple in our house. I think my mom’s copy is currently in 3 pieces. I now own my own well-loved copy, which is where I came across this gem. The important thing to note here is the technique. The ingredients can be interchanged. Risotto is a frightening beast, and I have conquered it. With the help of a modern appliance and some tasty ingredients.

Without further adieu:

Pesto & Walnut Risotto

  • 2 cups basil, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt + Pepper to taste

*Yes, a lot of pesto includes parmesan cheese and nuts of some sort. But, because both of these ingredients will be added to the risotto later, they are omitted in this mix.

Place the basil and minced garlic in a food processor. As you pulse, slowly pour the olive oil into the mix.  Process to desired consistency. (I prefer it chunkier). Done.

Now, to the main event:

The ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup onion, diced (not pictured – oops)
  • 1 cup Aborio rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons pesto (I used a little more)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt + Pepper to taste

The equipment:

  • A microwave (I know, you still can’t get over it)
  • A microwave safe casserole dish (I use the bowl below. Ignore my face.)

The work: (All cook times are with full power)

  • Heat the oil in the casserole dish on for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the onion and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the rice (make sure it is all coated!) and cook for 1 minute
  • Add 2 cups of the stock, the water, and the wine to the mixture. Stir once.
  • Cook the mixture for 12 minutes. Sit down! Have some wine! Read!
  • Add the remaining 1 cup of stock and the pesto. Stir once.
  • Cook for 8 minutes. Do whatever.
  • Check the mixture – depending on the microwave and your personal preference, it might be done. The “proper” way to serve risotto is al dente, but I like it cooked a touch more. Do what you feel.
  • Stir in the walnuts and the parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Done!

The final product:

I leave you with one final tip. To get the risotto to keep this shape I used a small tupperware container – scoop the mixture into the container, scraping any excess off the top. Invert a plate over the container and flip. Boo ya. That is some sexy presentation. In the past, I’ve also used a measuring cup. It also works with mashed potatoes and will make your family believe you have Emeril-esque skills in the kitchen. Everybody wins.



Beth’s Note: This recipe, if divided into 4 servings, has 10 pts+ a serving.

What are your thoughts on cooking in the microwave? Yay or nay? What types of things do you typically use it for?

25 Comments on Guest Post: Perfect Risotto in the Microwave

  1. Holly
    March 16, 2011 at 9:02 am (10 years ago)

    I use our microwave quite a bit — for oatmeal, heating up soups, warming up leftovers, etc.

    This looks so good — I’ve never made risotto and almost all of the contestants of Top Chef who make it usually get sent home for making it wrong so I guess it intimidates me!

  2. Jennifer
    March 16, 2011 at 9:05 am (10 years ago)

    This is interesting, as I’ve never thought that risotto stood a chance in the microwave.

    I LOVE making risotto, so I guess I don’t understand the fear involved LOL. To me, it’s relaxing, you keep stirring and slowly add more liquid, which I also use as time to sip wine. 🙂

    Anyway, I pretty much use the microwave for re-heating rather than cooking.

  3. Kalli
    March 16, 2011 at 9:27 am (10 years ago)

    i have to say i do love my microwave. this dish looks easy and delicious!

  4. goodtastehealthyme
    March 16, 2011 at 9:38 am (10 years ago)

    I would definitely be into trying this. While Risotto on the stove is easy, it’s a little tedious with all that stirring and simmering etc etc.

  5. Gwen
    March 16, 2011 at 9:39 am (10 years ago)

    YUM. I totally want to give this a whirl! Beth – did you put this in the recipe builder? If it’s easy, could you tell me the points/serving minus walnuts (I’m allergic!)?

    Thanks Beth and Emily!

    • Beth
      March 16, 2011 at 9:42 am (10 years ago)

      Hi Gwen! I did do it in the recipe builder, and cutting out the walnuts makes it 8 pts+ a serving. Not bad!

  6. IHeartVegetables
    March 16, 2011 at 9:41 am (10 years ago)

    Risotto in the microwave?! And I bet I could sub vegetable stock for chicken stock and bam, vegetarian dish right there!! I’m totally bookmarking this page. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. amanda june
    March 16, 2011 at 10:10 am (10 years ago)

    I don’t actually think I’ve ever had risotto (microwave or no microwave), but I’m intrigued by it for sure…interesting!

    I use the microwave a lot, but for mainly for oatmeal, popcorn, and heating water for my coffee (French press).

  8. Nina
    March 16, 2011 at 10:26 am (10 years ago)

    Wow, this looks really good. I once made Risotto on the stove top and it took hours and hour. That was the last time I cooked risotto. I will definitely try this version. Thanks.

    • Beth
      March 16, 2011 at 10:27 am (10 years ago)

      I know it can be SO labor intensive on the stove. That’s why the idea of using a microwave for it gets me excited! =)

  9. Nancy
    March 16, 2011 at 10:53 am (10 years ago)

    I’ve never tried to make risotto before. But doing it in the microwave makes me want to try it because I LOVE ordering it out. YUM. Flipping fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Karen
    March 16, 2011 at 11:56 am (10 years ago)

    The title of this post made my inner French Chef get all Wha wha wha?! No No! Microwaves are for heating coffee and exploding marshmellows, not cooking risotto!
    But I am not going to lie…I want to try this. When I can be sure that I will not eat the entire bowl in two delicious snarfs I will try it. Thanks!

  11. OliePants
    March 16, 2011 at 1:37 pm (10 years ago)

    I have never made risotto but my friend has and it looked too tedious for me to take up. But, the flavor is all there! And now that I know I can do it in the microwave, I’m going to buy the ingredients.

    I use the microwave to cook certain things – esp potatoes. It’s easier to boil potatoes to me in the microwave than the time-consuming stove.

    I knew a friend that would cook his eggs in there. I cannot get on that quite yet.

  12. Jen
    March 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm (10 years ago)

    Interesting for sure! I generally use the microwave to re-heat things, never for cooking; but I’m definitely intrigued!

  13. Jacqueline Lewis-Lyons
    March 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm (10 years ago)

    That looks so good I will have to try to do something besides warm up leftovers!

  14. ultrarunnergirl
    March 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm (10 years ago)

    I am impressed and very intrigued. MUST TRY! Thanks for featuring this recipe!

  15. Spoonful Of Sass
    March 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm (10 years ago)

    Yum. I’ll be trying this sometime soon!

    Side note: I love reading blogs that have life tidbits with a recipe. Totally relate-able and makes me laugh. I live in Amish country in PA and I go to a “goat day” every year…when my friends display their new baby goats. Ha! Good times. 🙂

  16. happywhennothungry
    March 16, 2011 at 6:41 pm (10 years ago)

    Great guest post Emily! I will definitely have to try making risotto in the microwave instead of constantly stirring over the stove top!

  17. Natasha
    March 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm (10 years ago)

    Hey Beth, just wanted to say that I made your lasagna recipe tonight and it turned out great! I gave you a shout out for it on my blog! Thanks for sharing!!


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