Monday, November 12, 2007

Risotto Con Parmigiano-Reggiano

For me risotto is one of the best ways to enjoy rice. It takes some time to prepare it, but it is oh so good. You can serve it as a side dish, but it really is good all by itself as a main course. I love having salad next to my main courses but with risotto, I can even skip the salad:) Some people are afraid to prepare it, thinking it is hard, but it really is very simple. Just try it, I'm sure once you cook one, you will keep on cooking it.

There are some tricks to preparing Risotto. If you want to have it come out right, try using Arborio rice, don't use regular rice, it makes a big difference. You also need to make sure that the water you are adding while cooking (or the broth) is hot, do NOT add it cold or even at room temperature. If you are going to add any kind of vegetable, it needs to be cooked before adding or you can use frozen vegetables that you've thawed. You can't add raw vegetables as they would never cook in time.

You can add white wine while cooking. I always do, it brings the taste out. The best way to do that is this: First saute the onions, then roast the rice a little bit, and then add the wine to deglaze the pan. Then begin adding the broth. An important tip: You need to make sure that you add the broth in smallish increments (at most a half-cup or cup at a time), constantly stirring. A real workout! Once you see that the rice has been able to absorb the broth, add some more. If you add wine, don't forget to adjust the amount of the broth accordingly. Usually half a cup of wine is plenty. A better wine will noticeably enhance the taste
. And most importantly, keep in mind that you might not need to use all of the broth. When the rice is al dente, your risotto is ready.

It's also very difficult to find a good Risotto recipe. I have been trying a lot of different ones, and the one I'm adding now is a classic. I found it at Epicurious. It came out great, and it really is easy to make.

Although the recipe uses Parmesan, which I love, you can also mix in Asiago or Fontina cheeses. Just don't add it all at once, sometimes the cheese taste can overpower everything else. So add a little bit, taste, and if it needs more keep adding the cheese. For me, half of the quantity in this recipe was enough.


5 cups (about) canned low-salt chicken broth
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Shaved Parmesan cheese

Bring broth to boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover saucepan.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion; saute until very tender but not brown, about 15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups warm broth. Boil gently until broth is absorbed, stirring frequently.

Add another 1 cup broth; stir until broth is absorbed. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes.

Stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1 cup grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and shaved Parmesan.

Makes 4

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