Risotto with Chicken

Risotto al Polio

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main course

Appears in

How to Cook Italian

How to Cook Italian

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2005

  • About

Using chicken for a pasta sauce or risotto base is challenging because chicken has a mild flavor and a sauce or risotto base must be flavorful enough to season the pasta or rice. In this recipe I use only the more flavorful dark meat, which also allows me to cook the chicken longer to concentrate flavors without drying out the meat.


  • pounds bone-in chicken thighs or 1 pound boneless thighs
  • ½ small yellow onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced
  • cup dry white wine
  • cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups homemade meat broth or ½ each beef and chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 6 cups water
  • cups rice for risotto (Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano)


  1. If you have chicken thighs on the bone, remove the skin and cut the flesh away from the bone. Cut the chicken into ½-inch pieces.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and dice the carrot. Put the olive oil with the onion and carrot in a large heavy-bottomed braising pan. Place over medium-high heat and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion and carrot begin to brown lightly, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Finely chop the pancetta and add it to the pan. Sauté until it loses its raw pink color, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until it is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  4. Raise the heat to high and add the wine. Let the wine boil for about 30 seconds to let the alcohol evaporate. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and break them up with a spoon. Lower the heat so that the tomatoes simmer and cover the pan with the lid slightly askew. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and the tomatoes are reduced and form a thick sauce, about 45 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates before the chicken is done, add a little water.
  5. Put the broth in a pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.
  6. Raise the heat under the chicken to medium-high, add the rice, and stir until it is well coated. Add about 1 cup of the hot broth and continue stirring. Add only enough broth to produce the consistency of a rather thick soup and wait until all the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Season with salt and continue until the rice is al dente, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve at once.