Risotto is one of those dishes people get really nervous about making. I was one of those people until I just started making batch after batch, determined to figure it out. And in the case of risotto, practice DOES make perfect. The keys to success are learning how to tell the doneness of the rice and to know how/when to add other ingredients like veggies.
My other big recommendation is to fully prep it out before starting to cook – set every ingredient you’ll need right where you can reach it, pour yourself a big glass of something, and hang out by the stove. If you are like me and have small children this is the time to stick them in front of the TV or some other totally distracting activity. Do not multitask while cooking risotto!
Many people save risotto as a special occasion dish and it IS really beautiful/impressive to serve for guests. But I also think it’s a great weeknight meal. Hear me out: kids usually like it, you can absolutely make it in under an hour, and it’s a perfect opportunity to use up produce and stock. Risotto is one of my favorite recipes for knocking out things you want to use up in the fridge or if you are just scrambling to come up with a meal. It also makes for delicious leftovers!
General Directions for Any Risotto
The basic proportions I use for risotto are: 1 cup of arborio rice, 3-4 cups of stock, 1/2 cup white wine, 1 small onion or 1-2 shallots, a clove of garlic, a splash of cream, and then 2-3 tablespoons of butter with at least 1/2 cup Parmesan at the end. To build your flavors, start with cooking any meat (pancetta, bacon, etc) and then set it aside. In the same pan, cook your onions or shallot in the remaining fat, and then add in the garlic. Add the rice to toast for 30 seconds, stirring, and then follow it first with the wine, and then ladle-fulls of stock. At the end, I toss in the butter, splash of cream, cheese, salt and pepper, pop on a lid, and let it side for five minutes.Print