Americans have mac and cheese as one of their comfort foods. For the Italians, it’s Risotto.
Sue Neal shows how to make this delicious recipe.
For more from Sue visit sueneal.blogspot.com
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine (or use water or stock)
1/2 cup (or so) chopped white or yellow onion
3 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
squeeze of lemon (a few teaspoons) to taste
Chopped green (chives, parsley or basil)
salt to taste
Heat stock in a separate pan.
In a large heavy bottomed pan (I like to use a cast iron enamel pot) heat oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.
Add rice to pot and stir in briskly with a wooden spoon to grains of rice are coated with oil/butter. Saute, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until you can start to smell the rice. Do not brown the rice.
Add 1/2 cup wine (or broth or water). Stir and cook until liquid is fully absorbed.
Add about a cup (a ladleful with work) of hot stock to pan, stir and cook for approx. 5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding a cup of stock and cooking it off about every 5 minutes.
Do not boil rice, just a nice simmer . You should see some bubbles, but it should not be roiling.
You do need to stir occasionally, but not constantly. Check for liquid absorption frequently. If you let it dry out and cook that way, the rice with get mushy.
It will take about 20 – 25 minutes to cook the rice from when you started adding stock. This depends on your pot, how well it holds the heat and your stove top temp. If you run out of stock and your rice still isn’t cooked, just add a little water now until it’s cooked.
The BEST way to determine when Risotto is cooked is to taste. After 15 minutes, taste a few kernels of rice. It should be soft on the outside, but have a bit of resistance in the middle. Do not overcook. As soon as it’s right, turn the heat off.
Add 2 more Tbsp of butter and vigorously beat it in. Then add cheese & Parsley (or other green) and beat again. Salt to taste. Add a squeeze of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Taste.
Add a few Tbsp of cream and stir.
Like all sauces, it will seize (get thick) with time, so it’s best to have it a little runny so that by the time you serve, it will be the right consistency.
You can add water, stock or/or cream to loosen Risotto up a bit.
It should run like lava across the plate. It should not be soupy. It should not form a mound.
You can eat Risotto just plain, but it’s very easy to add things to it, as it’s done at the end. My favorite is
Peas & Mushrooms: Sauce mushrooms and peas in some butter, stir in or place on top.
Asparagus: nice for a spring dish
Seafood: nice for a dinner party. Scallops, Shrimp or even better, Lobster!
You can even do sweet versions for dessert.
Seasoned Bread crumbs
Cheese or other fillings
Scoop cold Risotto into your hand and made a well with your fingers. Stuff with a piece of cheese (mozzarella or any good melting cheese works well). Reform the ball over the cheese.
Roll in breadcrumbs and deep fry at 360 for 1-2 minutes until golden brown, the rice is hot and the cheese has melted.
Serve on a bed or marinara sauce, with droplets of pesto and a scattering of fresh basil and parmesan cheese.