Risotto is a labor of love.
I had my first experience with this belly-warming delight in Italy. A giant bowl of piping hot risotto sat on the table next to my tiny apartment kitchen, after I watched a new friend show me how simple it was to make. After the first bite I was an addict. I thank my lucky stars every day that it’s a gluten-free vice…
Although the concept of risotto is a simple one, it’s definitely not a quick fix. You’re going to need a bit of patience and a strong stirring arm for this one. It is, to me, the perfect example of combination of menial tasks coming together to create a gloriously epic dish. In preparation it is a oddly satisfying, cathartic experience; and upon ingesting it will satiate a hunger you didn’t even know you had… I think I might need a risotto intervention.
Since my first experience with this creamy delight, I’ve attempted to experiment with as many variations on the basic idea as I could find. Notable examples: butternut squash and sage risotto, lemon asparagus risotto, red wine risotto with pancetta, saffron risotto, even desert risotto. The possibilities are limitless and the people you share with will be singing your praises. What could be better?
This recipe is adapted from the Saveur Cooks: Authentic Italian collection of risotto recipes.
- 2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil or butter
- 1 Medium Yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
- salt and freshly-grated pepper
Bring the chicken or vegetable stock to a boil in a saucepan, and reduce to a simmer. In a larger pot melt the butter or heat the olive oil, and add the onions. Sauté over medium heat for 5-6 minutes to sweat the onions until they are transparent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for one more minute. Add the arborio rice and stir to combine with the onions and garlic to toast the rice.
Add the white wine and stir continuously until the wine has evaporated.
Add about one half-cup (it’s easiest to use a ladle for this) of the stock to the rice and stir continuously until the stock has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue adding one half-cup of stock at a time, stirring all the while and allowing the stock to evaporate, until all of the stock has been used. The rice will become creamier and creamier in consistency and when it is done it will have a thick, almost pudding-like consistency. Taste the rice to make sure it is cooked through (if it isn’t just keep adding a little hot water and stirring to evaporate, as you did with the stock, until the rice is cooked).
Turn off the heat and add the parmigiano-reggiano, stirring to combine.
Make this for someone you love. Make it for someone you hate. Make it for yourself. Make it for me!