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Risotto (Don’t be afraid. It’s only rice.)

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Risotto is one of those dishes that sounds really impressive and difficult, but in reality is simply time consuming. The only hard part of making risotto is ensuring that your arm doesn’t fall off from the constant stirring.

No, seriously. Constant stirring.

Most risotto recipes call for adding cream at the very end, but I find that cream usually makes the recipe either too rich or too bland. So I avoid the cream. Instead, I sprinkle goat cheese over the top or leave the risotto plain.


1 c Arborio rice
4 c broth of choice (vegetable broth is great, though water or chicken broth work as well)
1/3 c dry white wine
4 T olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion (or 1 shallot), chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
2 t basil (or finely chopped rosemary, or oregano, or whatever you like)
dash of salt and pepper
pinch of paprika (optional)

Important note: Choose a wine that you like or that you know is a good cooking wine. As the wine cooks down, the alcohol burns off, leaving the wine’s flavors, but highly concentrated. So if you don’t like the wine, you really won’t like the risotto. And be sure to pick a dry white wine, otherwise your risotto will be too sweet.

Also, you should probably pour yourself a glass of your chosen wine to dull the pain of stirring.

1) In a medium saucepan or skillet with high sides, heat the 4 c broth over low heat. In a small pot or skillet, begin heating the wine. Leave both simmering over low flame no higher than this.

Flame height

Interesting note: If the wine isn’t warm when you add it, you’ll shock the rice, and it won’t absorb liquid.

2) In a medium saucepan, sautee the onions (or shallots) in 4 T olive oil over medium heat. Once the onions are translucent, add the arborio rice and stir slowly, making sure to coat each grain with the olive oil.

Rice turning white

3) Continue to stir slowly until the rice begins to turn white. Here is where you add your garlic and any spices you’d like to use.

4) Once the garlic is sauteed through, add the wine.
Add Wine

Stir slowly and evenly. You don’t want wine splashing around the pan. You want to keep the rice moving so that it absorbs the liquid evenly.

5) Once the rice has absorbed most of the wine, add in 1/4 c heated broth. Stir, stir, stir, slowly and evenly.

Add broth

6) As the rice absorbs the liquid, continue to add the broth in 1/4 c at a time. I like my risotto soft, so I add the liquid in at this stage:

Adding new broth

If you prefer your risotto to be a bit al dente, let the liquid disappear almost completely before adding the next ladle of broth.

For Al Dente risotto

7) Once your risotto has absorbed all the broth and reached the consistency you prefer (generally about 40 min for 1 cup of arborio rice), cover the pan and take it off the heat. Allow it to sit for 3 to 5 minutes.

8) Sprinkle goat cheese over the top and serve!

Excellent paired with roasted vegetables or baked chicken breast.


One response »

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