A risotto base is made with diced onions, fried in olive oil, followed by arborio rice, which can be cooked in the oil to varying degrees to achieve different textures. All that is required to complete the risotto is a suitable quantity of liquid to cook the rice, usually just stock and a splash of wine, and any other ingredients.

Good flavour combinations include tomato and fennel – use tinned tomatoes to replace the stock –; verdé – peas, green beans, and asparagus –; and mushroom and tarragon.