Visit your local supermarket and the shelves that used to hold packets of rice are pretty much empty. We’ve been buying the stuff in droves. So you’ve probably got a packet or two in your pantry right now, but not much inspiration for what to do with it. That’s where some of the country’s top Italian restaurants come in – they’re going to help you transform that bag of grains into a masterpiece. These recipes, by seven restaurants across Australia, vary in complexity and ingredients. One thing they all have in common? They’re delicious.

Fratelli Paradiso’s Riso al Latte
Sydney institution Fratelli Paradiso is renowned for its lunch and dinner dishes, but its breakfast is comparatively unsung. It shouldn’t be. It’s got its own in-house panetteria (bakery) and this creamy, slightly sweet dish has to be one of the city’s best morning options. The recipe was adapted from a popular Northern Italian dessert, and chef Nigel Ward says it’s a “great way of having a nice hearty breakfast – instead of a porridge or anything like that”. Like any good risotto, it’s all about the stir to get the perfect consistency. You’ve made yourself vegemite on toast all week – treat yourself.

Rosetta Ristorante’s Zucchini Risotto
“The perfect risotto wants to be started, cooked through and served right away. Many, many restaurants actually have to pre-cook the risotto and then reheat it to keep up with service. At home, you can cook one of the best risottos in the world if you do it right,” says Neil Perry, the chef-founder of Rosetta in Melbourne and Sydney. This risotto is a brilliant one. Although the recipe calls for zucchini, Perry says in autumn it works just as beautifully with a medley of your favourite mushrooms – say, shiitake, oyster and swiss brown. Just make sure you scorch the rice properly, and incorporate the stock slowly so the rice “neither drowns, nor gets too dry”.

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**TarraWarra Estate’s Tomato Risotto**
If you’ve got a bunch of tomatoes in your kitchen, this recipe by acclaimed Victorian winery TarraWarra could be good. This rich vegan dish lets the red fruit and basil be the stars, and it uses cashew butter instead of regular butter.

Zaatar’s Lebanese Rice Pudding
Rice pudding is the food equivalent of a hug. This recipe, by Melbourne’s Zaatar, has only five ingredients in addition to rice – including pistachio and cinnamon, the foundation of many great Persian sweets. You’ll have it on the table in 20 minutes. Good for dessert, good for breakfast. Good for any time, really.

Matteo’s Venetian Squid-Ink Risotto
Visiting Venice right now may seem like a pipe dream, but if you close your eyes and down a batch of Sydney chef Orazio D’Elia’s squid-ink risotto, you might feel like you’re dining on the edge of a Venetian canal. The squid-ink not only gives this dish its striking charcoal colour, but also adds saltiness and texture. This Matteo recipe might take a little while to come together, but if you don’t have the time to do it when you’re self-isolating, when will you?

Osteria di Russo & Russo’s Risotto of Green Peas
Risotto is a big deal at this Sydney eatery. For this recipe, you don’t need to keep stirring and stirring and like many risottos, but chef Jason Saxby does stress the importance of not overcooking the rice (and not putting too much stock in at once). “The consistency at the end should be what the Italians call all’onda. It means ‘of the waves’, if you gently toss the dish, it should roll over like a wave.”

Il Bacaro’s Asparagus, Pea and Broad Bean Risot-to
This creamy, slightly al dente risotto is always on the menu at this Melbourne CBD mainstay. And we reckon it’ll become a bit of a go-to for you too. “It’s a bit different – it’s not your standard porcini mushroom risotto,” says co-owner Joe Mammone. It’s comforting and satisfying, but not too heavy. Like a home-cooked meal by Nonna.

Want some more recipe inspiration? Check out our story on the six pasta dishes by top Aussie restaurants that you should make if you’re in self-isolation.