Red Wine Olive Risotto


It’s a funny thing about olives. People either LOVE them or they HATE them. It’s rare to meet someone who simply *likes* olives. Right? Unless you do… And then I’m wrong. Anyway. I’m 100% on the love side. And I have been for as long as I can remember. Of course, I started with olives of the canned variety. But quickly learned I loved all kinds of olives from kalamata to manzanilla and probably everything else. I mean, I’m sure there are plenty of types of olives I haven’t tried yet, but I have a feeling I’d love them all. For some reason, I’ve been craving olives like crazy lately. And then, likely because I’m always craving risotto, I decided to try out an olive risotto. I struggled between using kalamata or green olives because, while both would be awesome, I knew they’d each make completely different risottos. But I finally settled on kalamata. That just means green is coming soon.

While I was gathering my ingredients, I realized that the traditional dry white wine that goes into risotto just wouldn’t make sense in olive risotto. So, I swapped it out for a dry red wine instead. And now red wine risotto might be my new favorite thing. It’s beautiful, bold, and multi-dimensional. I have yet to discover anything that isn’t better with red wine. Amiright?

Red Wine Olive Risotto:
Print this recipe!

  • 3 1/2-4 1/2 C chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 1/2 C arborio rice
  • 1 C dry red wine, like merlot or cabernet
  • 1 C pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C chopped parsley, plus more for garnish


Start by putting your chicken or vegetable broth into a small saucepan and bringing to a boil. Then lower heat to a simmer and keep broth hot.

In the meantime, melt the butter into a medium or large size saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s melted, add in the chopped shallot and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add in minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.


Now add the arborio rice and cook for about 2 minutes, until grains are translucent-looking.


Pour in the cup of dry red wine and stir a bit, until the rice absorbs all the wine. Love the color!


Now, begin adding in the chicken or vegetable broth, half a cup at a time. After every addition, stir until rice absorbs broth. Then add another 1/2 C. You really don’t have to stand over the pot stirring non-stop. Just go about your business and give it a stir every so often (you don’t want all the liquid absorbing and the rice getting stuck to the bottom of the pot).


When the rice is nice and tender, but still firm, you can stop adding broth. I used about 4 C in mine before I decided to stop.


Then fold in the chopped kalamata olives and stir for about 1 minute.


And stir in the parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.


And you’re done! Pretty simple, right? I swear, once you make risotto a time or two, it becomes second nature and you’ll be making it non-stop. You may even spend half your life trying to think of new variations of risotto to try out. Orrr maybe that’s just me.


I just LOVE that the options are endless. The first risotto I ever made was a simple spring pea risotto. And that risotto is miles away from this olive one. I mean, if I had the moolah to get started, I’d totally be tempted to open a risotto-only restaurant. No matter your mood, there’s a risotto for you.


This one is the perfect cold-weather comfort food. But yes, you’ll have to like olives (A LOT) to enjoy this. It really is an olive-lovers dream. But the notes from the red wine really shined through, too, likely because I used a whole cup of it. I usually use 1/2 cup of wine in my risottos, but uh, I couldn’t stop pouring.

It’s also pretty necessary to have a glass of red wine WHILE you’re eating a bowl of this.


Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the parsley adds a crisp lightness that’s definitely needed in this deep dish. I loved the contrasts of the flavors.


Then again, this dish includes the three essential food groups: wine, cheese, and olives; so you really can’t go wrong.

Are you an olive lover or an olive hater?


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15 Responses to "Red Wine Olive Risotto"

  1. Everyone in my family (minus my dad) actually loves olives — well, black one that is. This risotto would make them so happy!

  2. Michelle says:

    Even though I LOVE olives, I don’t nearly eat them enough because my fiance HATES them. So true about the love/hate relationship with olives!

  3. Kelly says:

    100% hater, sorry. Everything else about this recipe looks tasty though.

  4. Kim K says:

    so funny you posted this today; yesterday at my bookclub, we had the love/hate discussion about olives. i hate them 🙁 blech!!!

  5. Christina says:

    I love, love, love olives. My sister hates them, but she’s the only one in my family who does.

  6. Gia Grossman says:

    LOVE olives. But nobody else in my family does. Actually they all hate them. That IS so weird. But maybe since theres wine in this…

  7. Denise says:

    I want to make this but I’ll add feta instead. I love feta in everything.

  8. I LOVE olives. And red wine. And cheese. 🙂

  9. Vanessa says:

    Yesssss. I’m on the lover side and think this looks to die for!

  10. Kerstin says:

    So pretty, love your red wine sub! And i kind of hate olives, lol, but my hubby would love them in this!

  11. Cara says:

    I love them, my husband hates them so we don’t eat them very often. Maybe this recipe would be a good intro to them, since he loves risotto?

  12. sweeter salt says:

    That looks delicious! I love olives and red wine, so I should definitely make this. Making risotto with bright liquids is fun, I make a beet risotto which is a shocking shade of fuchsia (recipe: Pretty and tasty!


  13. Kit says:

    We’re split firmly 50/50 on the love/hate olives issue here…. suggestions for substitutions for the olives, because everything else looks fantastic!

  14. Renee says:

    Oh. My. Goodness.

    I think it’s my perfect dish.

    You’re right about risotto — make it once or twice and you’re golden forever. I made it when I was still beginning to cook. I didn’t know I was supposed to be afraid of or challenged by it. I actually found the process super simple!

  15. I Am Going To have to return again whenever my course load lets up – nevertheless I am taking your R

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