Jun 22, 2010

Risotto: basics

Back to the basics.  I haven't started to go full-on chile and heat just yet.

And so: risotto.

Now, I'm going to assume that almost everyone who actually reads this knows what risotto is, but for the sake of anyone who doesn't and still stumbles across this: it's rice.  Creamy, delicious rice.  Usually with other stuff in it.  It's labor-intensive (less so if you trust Alton Brown ; I've never tried his method).

So here's a basic recipe; a few variations are to come whenever I get them properly written up.

Chop one medium yellow onion and soften in olive oil until transparent in a medium round-sided pot or pan.  A bit of garlic here wouldn't be uncalled-for.

In the meantime, bring some sort of broth (use chicken unless you have a reason not to) to a simmer in another, smaller pan.

Add about a cup of arborio  rice to the pot, take the heat up a bit, and toss vigorously.  Eventually, the edges of the rice grains will get translucent.  This is a good thing.

At that point, hit the pot with a cup or so of wine (again, use white until you get the idea down; I'm actually pondering what would happen with sake at this point).

Keep stirring; the alcohol will more or less vaporize.  When that's only slightly wet, start adding your heated broth.

Then stir.

Then add more broth.

Then stir.

Start at a low heat; knowing when to add more liquid is much easier if it's a slower process.  Higher heat will indeed finish the dish faster, but it also risks ruining it.  Especially when you live in a mile high desert.

Repeat.  And repeat.  Your arm will get tired.  So drop the heat and grate some cheese.  AB calls for reggiano exclusively; I like asiago as per usual.

Go back to stirring.  Eventually this mixture will firm up; the stirring is noticeably harder.  Taste the rice; it should be done.

So add the cheese.  Slowly, stirring to incorporate.

And you're done.  Take that thing off the heat and serve.  It will be delicious even plain like this.  But there's oh so much more that can be done.

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