Risotto is not difficult, just tedious. So many times I’ve given up on making it, but then I always attempt it again. The stirring, the adjusting, the tasting, the adjusting, the addition of more liquid. It can be tiring. But if you have some patience and at least 45 minutes, you will certainly create something that is far better than what you will get from instant in the supermarket, or even better when you dine out. Any time I’ve dined out, it was too al dente (in Italian this means “to the tooth” which still a little bit of toughness and bite). However, that is good for pasta, for rice, I prefer it a bit softer, but not mushy.
The entire key to this, other than patience, is to keep the stock plentiful and hot. As the risotto cooks, you want to keep it just below the waterline. In other words, once it starts to bubble, be sure there is enough liquid or broth to keep the risotto submerged, at least an inch or 3cm approximately.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup shallots chopped fine (about 1 large shallot)
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms (crimini work well)
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushroom (reconstitute with hot water, this is optional)
- 1 cup Italian dry wine such as Pinot Grigio
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cut fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 4 cups beef, chicken or vegetable broth, heated
IN a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, heat olive oil, shallots, garlic and a pinch of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Don’t worry, red pepper flakes will not make it spicy, it will just awaken the flavors after you add a lot of broth, rice, cheese, etc.
Once the shallots become translucent and fragrant (you will most definitely smell them), add a cup of dry white wine. Pinot Grigio works well. Do not use “cooking wine” from the supermarket. Even the cheapest Pinot Grigio wine from the liquor store is far better and you will get 3 times as much for the same price.
Once that comes back to a boil, add in 2 ladles or half cup of the broth. When that comes to a boil, add in chopped mushrooms, parsley, and a bit more black pepper.
Continue to add the hot broth one ladle spoon at a time every few minutes until the risotto is cooked. This will take at least 45 minutes or so. Every time it comes to a boil, add more broth.
You will have to taste this, so get a separate spoon, pull out a few pieces, and give it a bite. If it is too dense or tough, it has to cook another few minutes, or to your liking. Once it is to the density of your liking, put the heat at its lowest setting, and carefully add in one more label of broth, and the cheese. Stir, and continue stirring. It is optional to add in a bit more fresh parsley, even a squeeze of lemon, and or another small pat of butter or olive oil.
Serve in a bowl with fresh chopped parsley, and leave some grated cheese and olive oil on the side for guests, if you have them present.
In the end, if you do it right, you will find this is worth the effort. Enjoy!