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Chicken Risotto Recipe

Based on the original, classic risotto recipe, this is an easy but impressive meal to cook.

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Chicken Risotto


350g / 12oz Italian risotto rice
2 medium onions
450g / 1 lb chicken breast and /or leg meat
100g / 3½oz peas (frozen or fresh)
40g / 1½oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 sweet red pepper
850ml / 1½ pints chicken stock
1 glass white wine
25g / 1oz butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch (about 10 strands) saffron strands
1 to 2 teaspoons yellow food colouring (see Cook's Notes above)
2 medium garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste


: 10 minutes


: 45 minutes


: Medium


? Yes


: 4 main meal portions


: 1 large frying pan


Slice the chicken thinly
Finely chop the onion and garlic
Finely grate the parmesan cheese
Wash the risotto rice in cold water
Cut red pepper in half, remove seeds and pith then chop.
Add the saffron to the glass of wine to soak it.


See our article on saffron by clicking here. Saffron will only give a very slight yellow colour to rice. Professional cooks get the yellow colour by adding yellow food colouring. If you use this, add it slowly bit by bit until you have the yellow colour you want. If you add too much the rice will go a very garish yellow. Bit by bit is the way to do it.

It's best to break up the saffron strands into bits. The easiest way is to heat it for 20 to 30 seconds in a pan on a medium heat to crisp it slightly. Then use a fork to break it up. Watch out though, it jumps around even when slightly crisp!

Recipe by .



Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the frying pan, add the chicken pieces and cook on a medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. This should take about five minutes.

Stir the chicken whilst cooking to ensure it's evenly cooked. When done, place the chicken to one side.


Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and turn the heat to low. Add the onions, garlic and sweet peppers.

Fry at a low heat for 10 minutes stirring the ingredients frequently. The idea is to soften the onions and peppers without burning them.

 Frying onions and red peppers


When the ingredients are softened, add the cooked chicken and fry for a further two minutes.

Now add the risotto rice and fry for another two minutes stirring constantly. Make sure the rice is coated with the olive oil. Add the wine with the saffron in it. Stir the risotto.


When the wine has been absorbed by the rice add a ladleful of the chicken stock. Each time the stock is absorbed, add another ladleful. When all the stock has been added and absorbed, the rice should be moist but will "stack up" as shown in the picture. Half way through, add the food colouring (stirring well), bit by bit until the rice has turned a nice yellow colour. This whole step takes about 25 minutes.
 Stacking up risotto rice


Add the frozen peas and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

Now add the butter and parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well for 30 seconds. Remove the risotto from the heat and leave it to stand (covered with a lid or plate) for two minutes. Serve the pan to the table and let everyone spoon out as much as they want onto their plates.

11 RATINGS GIVEN - AVERAGE 4.5 star rating
5 star rating
28 March 2013
From: Justy
So easy, added a chilli at the beginning for a bit of kick -delicious. Again didn't bother with saffron or food colouring but knorr chicken stock coloured it a bit - bob appetite!!
5 star rating
1 September 2011
From: Bev
I adapted the recipe slightly as I'm not a fan of onions or peas - this recipe is so simple to follow and it still works if you add or remove some ingredients. I will certainly save and use this recipe again and again.
4 star rating
17 October 2011
From: Sophie
It is very well organised and the pictures are very useful :)
5 star rating
20 October 2011
From: Lester
Fantastic recipe. Easy to follow and a wonderful meal.
5 star rating
24 January 2012
From: Not Given
Wow this was so easy to follow and so tasty. Thanks :D
5 star rating
1 February 2012
From: Michael
This was great. I added chopped celery instead of peas 15 mins before serving...still tasted good. Thank you.
5 star rating
12 March 2012
From: Jayne
The first risotto I've made at home that had a real depth of flavour. Your instructions and pictures made it a very easy recipe to follow. Many thanks from me and the family ;-)
5 star rating
14 April 2012
From: Fiona
Great recipe. Enjoyed by all. Didn't add the colouring but still looked and tasted delicious :-)
5 star rating
11 June 2012
From: Louise
For a rubbish cook like myself, this was very easy to follow and tastes delicious every time. Thanks!
5 star rating
4 October 2012
From: Theo Harris
Fab recipe! I don't usually like risotto as it often is a tasteless gloop but this recipe is tasty!
5 star rating
18 November 2012
From: Paul B
I've never made a risotto and this made it so simple for me to follow. Thanks, made me a hero with my fiancee.

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