If you’ve ever cooked risotto, you know it requires carefully monitored attention and love from start to finish.
There’s something interesting about the arborio rice in combination with stock that creates an almost magical experience like no other.
But what do you serve with something so special?
While there may be classic sides associated with Italian cuisine, this blog post seeks to explore more interesting sides worthy of pairing up with a delicious pot of creamy and cheesy risotto.
From root vegetables to green vegetables, mushrooms, proteins and even fruits – this post has got 14 side dishes worth trying.
So let your taste-buds fall in love all over again while tasting each one!
What to Serve with Risotto? 14 Sides Worth Trying
1. Roasted Asparagus Spears with Lemon Hollandaise Sauce
If you’re looking for a delicious and elegant side dish to serve with your risotto, look no further than roasted asparagus spears with lemon hollandaise sauce.
This dish is simple to make but packed with flavor.
The asparagus is roasted until it’s tender and slightly charred, while the hollandaise sauce is rich and creamy with a hint of acidity from the lemon juice.
The best part about this dish is that it can be easily elevated to suit any occasion.
For a casual dinner party, simply roast the asparagus and serve it with the hollandaise on the side.
If you’re looking to impress your guests, try topping the asparagus with a poached egg or some crispy pancetta.
Regardless of how you serve it, this dish is sure to please everyone at the table.
2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar
If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy side dish to serve with your risotto, look no further than roasted Brussels sprouts.
These little green veggies are packed with nutrients and have a deliciously crispy texture when roasted.
Plus, they’re super easy to make.
Simply toss them in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then roast in the oven until golden brown.
For an extra touch of flavor, try roasting your Brussels sprouts with some garlic cloves or shallots.
You can also add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
Trust us; your guests will be impressed.
3. Roasted Carrots
There’s something about roasted carrots that just makes them taste so much better than when they’re cooked any other way.
Maybe it’s the slightly charred flavor that you get from roasting them, or maybe it’s the fact that they become so tender and easy to eat.
Either way, roasted carrots are a delicious side dish that pairs well with the risotto.
When it comes to taste and texture, roasted carrots are slightly sweet with a slight crunch.
They should be cooked until they’re fork-tender, but not so long that they turn into mush.
Elevate the dish by adding a few simple seasonings like salt, pepper, and herbs.
You could even add a touch of honey or maple syrup for sweetness.
Roasted carrots are best served hot out of the oven, but they can also be made ahead of time and reheated when you’re ready to eat.
If you’re looking for a simple yet delicious side dish to serve with your risotto, look no further than roasted carrots.
4. Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries
Parmesan zucchini fries are a delicious and easy way to elevate your average zucchini fry dish.
By adding Parmesan cheese to the breading, you create a crispy and flavorful outer layer that is sure to please any palate.
Additionally, the cheese adds a nice depth of flavor to the dish that compliments the natural sweetness of the zucchini.
When it comes to taste and texture, these fries are hard to beat.
The Parmesan breading creates a crispy outer layer, while the zucchini remains soft and tender on the inside.
This contrast in textures is truly delicious and will have you coming back for more.
Additionally, the Parmesan flavor pairs perfectly with the natural sweetness of the zucchini, creating a well-rounded dish that is sure to satisfy.
There are a few tips to keep in mind when making this dish.
First, be sure to slice the zucchini into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly.
Second, if you want extra crispy fries, try doubling up on the breading.
Third, be sure to bake the fries until they are golden brown for optimal flavor and texture.
Following these tips will ensure that you create a delicious and elevated dish that is sure to please.
5. Grilled or Roasted Vegetables
Risotto is a creamy and rich dish, so it’s the perfect base for grilled or roasted vegetables.
The heartiness of the risotto will help to balance out the smokiness of the grilled vegetables, and the creaminess of the dish will help to temper the sometimes-overpowering taste of roasted vegetables.
When choosing vegetables to grill or roast, try to stick with ones that have a good amount of natural sugars in them.
This will help them to caramelize and char when exposed to high heat.
Some great options include bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, onions, garlic, and tomatoes.
If you’re grilling your vegetables, make sure that they are cut into large pieces so that they don’t fall through the grate.
And if you’re roasting your vegetables, be sure to toss them in a bit of olive oil before putting them in the oven.
6. Caprese Salad
Caprese salad is a simple Italian dish made of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.
It’s a great summer dish because it’s light, refreshing, and easy to make.
The key to a good Caprese salad is using high-quality ingredients.
Make sure to use fresh mozzarella, ripe but firm tomatoes, and freshly grown basil.
The flavors in this dish are really simple, so it’s important that each ingredient is at its best.
The mozzarella should be creamy and mild, the tomatoes should be juicy and sweet, and the basil should be fragrant and bright.
There are a few ways to elevate this dish and make it even more special.
One way is to use heirloom tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes.
Heirloom tomatoes have a more complex flavor than regular tomatoes, so they’ll add an extra depth of flavor to the salad.
Another way to make this dish more unique is to use balsamic vinegar instead of regular vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar has a sweeter, richer flavor that goes well with the other ingredients in the salad.
7. Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Lemon Vinaigrette
Arugula salad is a light and refreshing side dish that pairs well with many different main courses.
The peppery taste of arugula is balanced by the sweetness of the shaved Parmesan and the tartness of the lemon vinaigrette.
This dish is also packed with nutrients, making it a healthy addition to any meal.
To make this dish even more flavorful, consider adding some chopped nuts or dried fruit.
For a heartier version, add some grilled chicken or salmon.
And if you want to make it a complete meal, serve it over a bed of quinoa or brown rice.
8. Chicken Marsala
Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian dish that is both delicious and easy to make.
The dish is made by pan-frying chicken breasts in a Marsala wine sauce.
Marsala wine is a fortified wine that is made from grapes grown in the Marsala region of Sicily.
The wine has a sweet, full-bodied flavor that pairs well with chicken.
Chicken Marsala is typically served with pasta or risotto.
The dish can also be served with roasted vegetables or a simple salad.
For a more elegant presentation, chicken Marsala can be served over polenta or mashed potatoes.
- Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the best results.
- Be sure to use a good quality Marsala wine for the sauce. Cheap wines will make the sauce taste bitter.
- If you want to make a lighter version of the dish, use chicken broth in place of some of the Marsala wine.
9. Beef Stroganoff
There’s something about a hearty beef stroganoff that just hits the spot.
Maybe it’s the rich, savory flavor of the beef or the creamy richness of the sauce.
Or maybe it’s the satisfying feeling of digging into a big plate of carbs.
Whatever the reason, beef stroganoff is a comfort food classic.
If you’re looking to elevate your beef stroganoff game, there are a few simple things you can do.
First, make sure to use good quality beef.
Look for a cut with plenty of marbling – this will ensure that your beef is nice and tender.
Next, don’t be afraid to experiment with different kinds of mushrooms.
A mix of button mushrooms and wild mushrooms will add a depth of flavor that takes the dish to another level.
Finally, don’t skimp on the sour cream.
A good quality sour cream will make all the difference in terms of flavor and texture.
10. Grilled Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce
Looking for a delicious and healthy meal? Try grilling salmon with lemon dill sauce.
This dish is not only healthy but also packed with flavor.
The salmon is perfectly cooked when it is slightly pink in the center and flakes easily.
The lemon dill sauce is the perfect complement to the salmon.
It is light and refreshing, with a hint of acidity from the lemon juice.
To elevate this dish, try serving it with grilled vegetables or a simple salad.
Grilled vegetables are a great way to add more nutrition to your meal.
A simple salad can help balance out the flavors of the dish.
If you are looking for a heartier meal, you could also serve this salmon with rice or quinoa.
11. Rack of Lamb with Rosemary Mint Sauce
Rack of lamb is a classic dish that is perfect for a special occasion.
The tender meat, paired with the fragrant rosemary mint sauce, is sure to impress your guests.
Here are some tips on how to make this dish even more delicious:
- Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper before cooking. This will help to bring out the natural flavors of the meat.
- Sear the lamb in a hot pan until it is nicely browned all over. This will give it a beautiful color and crispy texture.
- Be sure to cook the lamb until it is medium rare or medium. Any longer, and the meat will become tough and dry.
- Let the rack of lamb rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more tender and flavorful.
Serve this dish with roasted potatoes and a simple green salad for a complete meal that is sure to please everyone at the table.
12. Veal Parmesan
Veal Parmesan is a classic Italian dish that is usually made with breaded veal cutlets, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
The dish can be served as an entree or appetizer and is often served with a side of pasta.
The taste and texture of the veal Parmesan will depend on how it is prepared.
The veal should be tender and cooked through, but not dry.
The tomato sauce should be flavorful and not too acidic.
The mozzarella cheese should be melted and gooey.
There are a few tips that can help you elevate your veal Parmesan dish.
First, make sure to use high-quality ingredients.
Second, don’t skimp on the tomato sauce – it should be plentiful and flavorful.
Third, use fresh mozzarella cheese for the best flavor and texture.
Lastly, don’t overcook the veal – it should be tender and juicy, not dry or tough.
13. Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp scampi is a classic Italian-American dish that typically features shrimp sauteed in garlic and butter with a white wine and lemon sauce.
This dish is simple yet flavorful and can be served as an appetizer or main course.
The key to a good shrimp scampi is to use fresh, quality ingredients.
The shrimp should be plump and juicy, and the sauce should be light and slightly acidic.
You can also add other flavors to the dish, such as red pepper flakes or herbs.
To elevate your shrimp scampi, try serving it over a bed of creamy polenta or risotto.
You can also add other seafood, such as lobster or crabmeat.
For a truly indulgent dish, top it with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
14. Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce
Crab cakes are a delicious and easy way to show off your culinary skills.
They are perfect for a summer BBQ or an elegant dinner party.
And, with the right side dish, they can be elevated to a whole new level.
When it comes to taste and texture, crab cakes should be light and airy, with a gentle crab flavor.
The best way to achieve this is to use lump crab meat, which has a higher meat-to-shell ratio.
You’ll also want to make sure that you evenly distribute the ingredients so that each cake has the same amount of crab meat.
As for the side dish, there are many options that will complement the flavors of the crab cake.
A simple salad or roasted vegetables are always a good choice.
But, if you really want to impress your guests, try serving them with a remoulade sauce.
This sauce is traditionally made with mayonnaise, mustard, and herbs.
So there you have it: 14 of the best side dishes to serve with risotto.
I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration on what to make for your next meal.
Risotto is a versatile dish that can be made with a variety of different ingredients.
With the right sides, it can be a complete meal.
What are your favorite sides to eat with risotto? Let us know in the comments below.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!