Before we get to the risotto recipe (which is good, scout’s honor) I really should tell you something. Something embarrassing.
I have no idea how to pronounce “risotto” correctly. I flip-flop between riz-O-to and riz-Ah-to constantly, trying to read the reactions of the people around me, to see if one or the other makes people nod and go, “Ah, yes, risotto” or squint their face up and cock their heads and scowl at me then walk away in disappointment. And I’m just left there going, “I said risotto!” like a big idiot.
That revelation probably isn’t going to establish my expertise in the area of risotto recipes and in fact, you’re probably not even reading anymore. But basically, all risotto is is a savory rice pudding. You cook some medium-short grain rice (Arborio — I do know how to pronounce that) by adding hot stock slowly and gradually, stirring all the while the rice grains release their starch and produce their own creamy sauce. Sounds low fat and everything and it is, until you add it a big hunk of butter and a buncha Parmesan cheese. To balance that out, you can add some sauteed vegetables to the basic recipe and viola! Now you have mushroom risotto, asparagus risotto, pumpkin risotto, any number of risottos.
Use my recipe for homemade chicken stock or buy some.
- 8 cups well-seasoned chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion or shallots
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- extra butter
- ½ – 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- Optional: 2 cups sauteed mushrooms, asparagus
- Heat stock to simmer in a large pot.
- Heat butter and oil in a wide, deep skillet until warm and add onions, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes until softened and translucent.
- Add the rice and stir to coat every grain. Cook the rice over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the grains look more opaque.
- Add 1 cup of the simmering stock to the rice and stir constantly until it’s almost absorbed. This will take about 5 minutes.
- In 1 cup increments, same as the previous step, add 5 more cups of stock, allowing each cup to absorb before adding the next.
- Once 6 cups have been added (this will take 20-30 minutes) taste the rice for salt and texture. Add some salt if necessary. If the rice is still a little too chewy, add another ½ cup of stock. (Note: this is also when you will add optional sauteed vegetables.)
- Add the rest of the stock in ½ cup increments, same as before, but this time taste the rice frequently to test for doneness. When it’s properly cooked, the risotto should be tender without being soft, and moist not dry.
- Remove from heat and add another tablespoon or two of butter and the Parmesan. Serve right away.