Parmigiano Reggiano Risotto with Pepper

  • Yield: 6 servings


1pound Parmigiano Reggiano cheese*, grated
8cups water, at room temperature
1 1/2teaspoons olive oil
1 1/4cups Vialone Nano rice or Arborio rice
Freshly ground assorted peppercorns


  1. To make the cheese broth, in a 4-quart saucepan combine  grated cheese and 8 cups water. Cook over medium-low heat to 176F (hot to the touch but not bubbly), stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Cover the surface of the cheese mixture with plastic wrap (it should be touching the surface). Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight (the longer it sits, the more flavorful the cheese broth becomes).
  2. Before making the risotto, remove the cheese broth from the refrigerator. It will now be in three layers, a dense layer on the bottom, a broth layer, and a creamy top layer. When removing the plastic wrap, save the creamy layer that is attached to the wrap and spoon off any remaining creamy mixture on the broth and reserve as well. Strain the broth and set aside. (You can refrigerate the remaining dense layer on the bottom to add to pizza, pasta dishes, or soup. It will have a mild cheese flavor.)
  3. For the risotto, in a large heavy saucepan heat the olive oil. Add the rice. Cook and stir to coat well with oil, about 1 minute. Add enough of the cheese broth to barely coat the rice. Cook, stirring almost constantly, over medium-low heat until broth is absorbed. Continue to cook and stir, adding broth a bit at a time, for about 15 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of the reserved creamy layer. Continue to cook and stir, adding remaining broth a little at a time, about 5 minutes more or until rice is tender, yet firm to the bite (al dente). If needed add additional water, a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.
  4. Remove rice from heat and stir in some of the additional reserved creamy layer to desired creaminess and flavor. Top each serving with ground pepper to taste.

*Cheese note: Mossimo Bottura’s original recipe calls for more Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, but due to the expense, we reduced the amount with excellent results. If you happen to have a Parmigiano Reggiano rind available, add it along with the cheese and water to boost the cheese flavor of the broth, removing and discarding the rind before using the broth. Parmigiano Reggiano rinds are also great for adding to soup. Mossimo uses cheese that has been aged 30 months for a more pronounced flavor. We used 22-month aged cheese, which worked fine.

**Mossimo’s recipe calls for sprinkling the risotto with ground white pepper, Szechuan pepper, long Jamaican pepper, Sarawak pepper, and wild pepper. We simplified the recipe to use freshly ground assorted peppercorns with delicious success.