Risottos get a lot of good press, they're constantly being made on televised cooking competitions and it's often thought of as the mark of a competent chef if they can create one correctly. The truth is, risotto is just a fancy term to describe cheesy rice. Any home cook can get it right if they take their time doing it, and make sure they are using quality ingredients. Add some nice Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, some quality stock, some white white, and the end product can be quite palatable. Here is a walk through my process as I work to perfect it in my kitchen and provide our family with some classic, top notch comfort food.
Prepare your stock:
1 tablespoon butter
6 32 ounce containers of chicken stock
6 celery stocks roughly chopped
8 peeled baby carrots roughly chopped
2 medium yellow onions roughly chopped
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
Fresh ground black pepper
Parsley stems (strip off the leaves to use elsewhere)
Saute the celery, carrots, pepper, and onions in the butter. Cook until soft and then add chicken stock, tomato paste, and parsley. Boil for 40 minutes. Take off heat and then drain.
1 teaspoon saffron threads
.5 cup Italian Pinot Grigio
8 cups prepared stock from above kept heated in a side pot
1.5 cups arbrorio rice
1 medium onion
4 tablespoons butter
.5 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
.5 cups EVOO
Step 1: Make sure to set the stock to a pot on a side burner, so that it's steaming hot and add the saffron threads to it. Place the olive oil into a hot pan and let it heat until it grows fingers. Place the onions into the oil and let it cook for 10 minutes or so, translucent, but not browned.
Step 2: Add the rice and fry in the oil for 3 minutes or so. Add the wine and it let it begin simmering. Add a ladle full of stock and let it simmer until the liquid cooks down. The pan should be hot enough to sustain a boil, but not so hot it boils and not so cool that it takes time for the boil to resume as you add additional stock.
Step 3: Continue adding liquid and cooking it down until you run out of stock. The rice should be a little chewy and very creamy, not mushy or taste burnt. You may not use all of the stock you set aside, so don't worry if you have some left over. Eventually the rice will swell with the moisture you've added to it, when it gets sufficiently large enough you can begin tasting for texture.