When made correctly, risotto is really a perfect comfort food. Warm, creamy, and indulgent, it suits almost any occasion. Gussied up with porcinis or lobster, it makes an intimate dinner for two. When it’s made in the classic and unfussy style, you have a cheap but impressive way to feed a family or guests. It isn’t an amazing amount of skill or training that gives you great risotto. The big “secret” to risotto is using hot stock. Well, that and a little TLC. Have you been looking for an opportunity to get lost in your thoughts? Make risotto. Add stock. Stir. Daydream. Repeat.
4 cups Chicken Stock or vegetable stock, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Spanish onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
PREP:PEEL AND DICE THE ONION
Pour the stock into a small saucepan and set it over low heat.
soften the butter in a very medium cooking pan over low heat. Put some onion and season with a pinch of salt. Sauté the onion until it’s translucent, 6 to 8 minutes, making sure it doesn’t brown.
Add the rice and stir, coating the rice completely with the butter.
Add one cup of the recent stock to the rice. Stir and simmer the rice over medium-low heat until all the stock has been absorbed.
Add another cup of hot stock to the rice, repeating the process until the stock is gone and the rice is cooked. The only way to know if risotto is correctly done is to taste it! When you bite into a spoonful, each grain of rice should be
texturally well defined and al dente in the same manner as perfectly cooked pasta.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with grated Parmesan and serve.
Finished risotto should be neither soupy nor dry. You’re looking for a middle consistency that celebrates the starchiness of the rice and is naturally creamy but not heavy or gloppy.
If using store-bought stock, be sure to purchase a quality, low-sodium brand. Be extra careful with your seasoning in this case, tasting as you go, because a low-sodium stock isn’t salt-free.
My favorite risotto variations: saffron for a classic Milanese style, shrimp and peas, blanched asparagus for a celebration of spring, butternut squash and sage for a warming winter meal, or mixed mushroom and leek for an earthy foray into autumn.