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History and Culture of Risotto


Dive into the fascinating world of risotto, exploring its rich history and origins, along with diverse pairings and variations. Learn how this Italian classic has evolved over centuries and discover tips to enhance your culinary experience, all in this engaging and insightful article brought to you by Benvolio, experts in premium organic and specialty seed oils since 1938.

Welcome to the enchanting journey through the history and culture of risotto, an iconic dish that epitomizes the essence of Italian cuisine. Benvolio, a brand renowned for its premium organic and specialty seed oils since 1938, invites you to explore the depths of its origins, its cultural significance, and the myriad ways it has been reinvented over the years. Whether you’re a culinary enthusiast, a history buff, or simply someone who appreciates good food, this article promises to enrich your understanding and appreciation of risotto.

History and Origin of Risotto

The Medieval Introduction of Rice in Italy: The story begins with the introduction of rice to Italy and Spain by the Arabs during the Middle Ages. The humid climate of Northern Italy, especially in regions like Lombardy and Piedmont, provided the perfect conditions for rice cultivation. By the 15th century, rice had become a staple in these areas, laying the foundation for what would become one of Italy’s most beloved dishes. [1]

The First Risotto Recipe: The earliest recipe identifiable as it dates back to 1809. This dish, combining rice, butter, saffron, and cheese, graced the tables of the Dukes of Milan, symbolizing their wealth and power. It’s believed that this recipe laid the groundwork for the famous risotto alla Milanese. [2]

The Saffron Touch – A Stroke of Genius: A popular tale suggests that risotto’s distinct yellow color originated in the 16th century. A young apprentice working on the stained glass of the Duomo di Milano reportedly added saffron to a rice dish, emulating the vibrant hues of the glasswork. This creative twist is thought to be the birth of risotto alla Milanese.


Pairings and Variations

Wine Pairings – Enhancing Flavors: Risotto’s versatility allows it to pair beautifully with a range of wines. Seafood or vegetable risottos go well with light, crisp whites like Pinot Grigio or Vermentino. For richer variants with mushrooms or truffles, a full-bodied red like Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino is ideal. Meat or cheese-based risottos, on the other hand, complement medium-bodied reds like Chianti or Barbera. [3]
Food Companions for Risotto: The rich and creamy nature of risotto makes it a perfect match for various foods. Light risottos pair wonderfully with grilled fish or chicken, while heartier versions complement roasted meats or stews. A simple green salad or roasted vegetables also make great accompaniments, balancing the richness of the dish.
Risotto is more than just a dish; it’s a culinary tradition steeped in history and culture. From its humble beginnings in Northern Italy to its status as a global favorite, risotto has captured the hearts of food lovers worldwide. Its adaptability and compatibility with a wide range of ingredients and wines make it a timeless classic. As Benvolio continues its tradition of excellence in producing premium organic and specialty seed oils, we celebrate the rich and diverse culture of risotto, an enduring symbol of Italian culinary artistry.

Risotto with Prawn and Chorizo Recipe

Risotto with Prawn and Chorizo Recipe is a delicious and comforting dish. Here's a simple recipe to try:


  • cup Rice Pozzi Carnaroli
  • 500g Large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 200g Chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup White wine
  • 4 cups Chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons Benvolio's Organic Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Fresh parsley
  • 1 Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper


  • Prepare the Ingredients:
    Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep it warm over low heat. Clean and pat dry the prawns. Season them lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the Chorizo & Prawns:
    In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chorizo slices and cook until they are crispy and release their oils, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the chorizo and set it aside, leaving the oil in the skillet. In the same skillet, add the prawns and cook until they turn pink and are just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the prawns and set them aside with the chorizo.
  • Sauté the Aromatics:
    In the same skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil and the butter.Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Toast the Rice:
    Add the Rice Pozzi Carnaroli to the skillet and stir to coat with the oil and butter. Cook until the rice becomes slightly translucent, about 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and stir until it is fully absorbed
  • Combine the Ingredients:
    Begin adding the warm stock one cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost fully absorbed before adding the next. When the rice is tender yet firm to the bite (al dente) and the risotto is creamy, stir in the cooked chorizo and prawns. Add the lemon zest, chili flakes (if using), and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve:
    Remove from heat and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Serve the risotto warm, garnished with extra parsley or lemon zest if desired.


  • Constantly stirring the risotto helps release the starch from the rice, giving it a creamy texture.
  • Adjust the seasoning according to your preference, and feel free to add more stock if you prefer a looser consistency.
  • Enjoy this flavorful risotto with prawn and chorizo as a hearty main course!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: risotto with prawn and chorizo
Benvolio History And Culture Of Risotto

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