Before you cook though, you must choose your ingredients...
This is probably the hardest part of the recipe. Choose Arborio for a creamy and thick risotto, Carnaroli for a more delicate, spring-time risotto, and Vialone Nano for risottos containing other ingredients like meats or vegetables.
The other ingredients to flavor your risotto, such as dried porcini, fresh vegetables, even the salt & pepper, should be of the finest quality.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (you could use half butter, half oil if you prefer)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 500 grams of rice
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 quart-plus good-quality chicken stock (boxed is ok, but use the best one you can find)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Saute the onion over medium-high heat in the olive oil until nicely softened. Add the garlic after about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
Add your rice and stir, coating the rice in the oniony-garlicky oil, for 2-3 minutes.
Add the wine and allow to reduce until the pan is almost dry.
Add ladlefuls of HOT STOCK to the pot, one at a time, for about 15 - 18 minutes, stirring often. The rice will slowly release the starch into the liquid, turning regular old rice into risotto! This step is done when you taste the rice and determine that it's done - no sooner and no later!
Off of the heat, add the butter and cheese, season with salt & pepper and adjust accordingly.
Now as we said, this is a recipe for a BASIC risotto. The options for embellishment are endless, but the variance in recipe is really insignificant.
For example, if you want Risotto con Porcini, simply rehydrate some dried porcini, add them in a few minutes from the end and add the drained liquid. Voila!
Want an asparagus risotto? Blanch some asparagus in a small amount of water and add them towards the end - then don't waste that blanching water...you've got asparagus stock! Add that in as well.
For Risi e Bisi, add some fresh or frozen peas to the end and serve it on the wet side - that's how it's done in Venice.
For a quick Risotto con il Pollo, add some cooked and shredded chicken thighs to your almost-finished risotto. Drizzle with a touch of aceto balsamico, as they do in Emilia Romagna.
Risotto con Gamberetti? Easy! Toss uncooked shrimp into your risotto about 5 minutes from done - that'll be enough to cook them. (Use fish stock or shellfish stock if you have it.)