Perfect Risotto

When I first contemplated making risotto, people told me it was a difficult dish, requiring constant stirring.  As usual, I ignored them 😉  Nevertheless, it has taken some time and a little experimentation to get a result that I think is outstanding–as good as any I’ve tasted anywhere (actually, better…).  It’s a wonderfully flexible dish that you can serve as an entree or as an accompaniment.  It does take some time, so if you are serving it with something else, start with the risotto and then make whatever else you are making when it’s nearly done.  You can in fact, cook a risotto ‘mostly’, put it in the fridge and then finish it later (which is what restaurants do–the few there be that serve it…)

Serves 2

You will need:

1/4 c. Italian (Arborio) rice (don’t even bother trying to substitute some other kind…)
1/2 medium onion (chopped fine)
2 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
2 TBSP pine nuts (optional)
2 TBSP chopped Italian parsley
1/2 c. finely grated Parmagiano Regiano or Grana Padano
1 TBSP Olive oil
2 tsp butter
1/4 c. white wine
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Put a medium sauce pan on the stove at medium high.  Add the olive oil, then the pine nuts.  Toast the pine nuts, shaking frequently until they are a nice golden brown.Turn the heat down to medium. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add the finely minced garlic and cook another couple of minutes.  Add the Arborio rice and then the wine.  Stir vigorously every couple of minutes until all the free moisture is gone.  Add half the chicken stock, salt and pepper and repeat the process.At this point, you can stop cooking and store your mostly-done risotto to finish later.Add remaining stock, stir vigorously every couple of minutes.  When it sets up (no liquid chicken stock is visible when you pull a spoon across the bottom of the pot), taste a few kernels to be sure that they are soft.  If not, add a little more stock, cook and stir until you consider the kernels ‘done’. Add butter, cheese and parsley and stir vigorously to mix.  Serve quickly as it cools rapidly.

(source: Andrew Piereder)


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