Risotto just might be the ultimate in comfort food. Warm, creamy, starchy and delicious. A lot of people don’t make it because they think it’s finicky and time consuming. It’s actually quite simple and start to finish only takes about 45 minutes. And contrary to popular belief you do not have to stir it every second! Yes it needs frequent stirring but nothing devastating will happen if the spoon leaves the pan for a couple of minutes. If you haven’t tried your hand at making it yet I highly recommend it. It makes a great side to just about any main course and this basic recipe should get the approval of even the picky eaters.
Classic Risotto Recipe
- 5 tablespoons of butter
- 5 cups of chicken stock (vegetable stock works well too)
- 1/2 cup of onion – finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli, any “pearl” rice)
- 3/4 cup of white wine (preferably something on the dry side but whatever you have on hand will work)
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (any hard cheese like Romano, Asiago will work as well)
Heat the stock in a saucepan and leave on low heat to simmer.
In a large saucepan melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add your onion. Cook over low to medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring often. You do not want to brown the onion! You just want to release the onion’s flavour.
Add the rice to the pan and continue to cook over medium/low heat for another couple of minutes, stirring often. Again, do not brown the ingredients. If your stove is “hot” like mine reduce the heat a little.
Add the white wine and cook, again stirring often until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Grab a ladle and add a couple ladles of stock into the rice. Continue to cook, stirring often until almost all of the stock has been absorbed. Keep repeating this process, adding a couple of ladles of stock, stirring and adding more stock as the liquid is absorbed.
After the rice has been cooking for about 30 minutes have a taste and check for doneness. You are going for al dente here. The rice should be soft and creamy but still have a slight firmness in the center. If it’s not ready yet just keep repeating the steps above until it is. You may not use all of the stock or you may run out. If you run out of stock just continue using very warm water.
Once the rice is cooked remove from heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Just remember that your cheese is salty and depending on your stock it might be salty too.
I like to serve mine with roasted bell peppers (as pictured above) to add a little color and a lovely sweetness.