If anyone were to ask me, “what is your favorite comfort food?”, I could answer without, hesitation, “Risotto!” It’s so creamy and delicious and it can be transformed in so many ways just by what you choose to serve it with or toss in the pot at the end. I don’t actually eat much pasta – the gluten and I just don’t get along. But risotto is made with arborio rice and we get along just fine! I do sometimes like to add asparagus, peas, or mushrooms too.
Arborio is a short-grain, pearl-like Italian white rice that is high in starch and becomes creamy and chewy when cooked. Like other rices, Arborio is a member of the grass family. What distinguishes it from other rice is it’s higher than normal amount of soluble starch that is released during cooking. The starch is what makes a risotto creamy. Arborio rice takes about eighteen minutes to cook. It’s done when it is al dente, tender on the outside and firm in the center.
Another thing about making risotto, as that it is a labor of love. It’s not something you can just toss into a pot and simmer until it’s cooked through, but that’s part of the appeal for me. It takes almost constant stirring while adding warm broth, one ladle-full at a time as the risotto slowly absorbs the liquid and releases starch. And if you over-cook it you end up with a mushy mess. So grab a glass of wine, and pull up a chair by the stove. This is gonna be fun!
This recipe is for a basic Parmesan Risotto, which goes perfect with my homemade chicken parmesan – oh my goodness. So good.
(This probably should serve 6-8 people, but come on… It’s risotto!! I know I eat two servings myself. I like to think of it as my reward for a job well-done)
2 cups arborio rice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup dry white wine, (I usually have pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc on hand so that’s what I use)
6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
about 1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Heat broth in a saucepan on medium heat.
Heat an enameled dutch oven or large pot. Add oil and saute the chopped onions until transluscent. Stir in the rice with a wooden spoon and cook until it becomes just transluscent on the edges with a white dot in the middle. At this point add the wine, then begin adding the heated broth, one ladle-full at a time. You’ll want to keep the mixture wet enough that the rice does not stick to the bottom. But don’t add too much to fast either, risotto needs time to absorb the delicious broth and release the starch SLOWLY in order to stay creamy.
When the rice is somewhat soft, with just a bit of a bite to it (al-dente), turn off the heat and add grated cheese and cream, as well as salt and pepper. You may or may not have used up all of the 6 cups of broth, but I usually do. The risotto should be creamy and moist but NOT runny. You can also add grilled or broiled asparagus, fresh peas, or sauteed mushrooms to the rice at this point as well. I usually serve risotto on a plate with some type of protein, like chicken.
That’s all. Enjoy!!