Most people have the misconception that risotto is a time-consuming and labor-intensive dish to prepare. It’s probably because they get turned off by thinking they have to be chained to the stove to stir, stir, stir. But, there really isn’t a need to stir. Alton Brown even agrees with me.
Basically, the more you stir risotto, the more starchy goodness gets rubbed off. The less starchy goodness you have the less creamy the risotto will be. (Alton Brown would have you think of risotto having little raincoats on them, the more you stir, the more the risotto bonks around and the more likely that the starchy rain coats will come off.) The best part is, without all the stirring, there is more time to do other things in the kitchen.
– olive oil
– 1 box risotto
– at least two cups white wine
– vegetable broth
– shredded parmesan cheese
– freshly ground pepper
– optional ingredients: onions, peas, mushrooms or asparagus sauteed in olive oil
Put a few tablespoons of oil in the bottom of your pot on medium heat. Brown some chopped onion (optional in our house).
Add uncooked, dry risotto into pan and coat with oil. “Toast” the risotto in the pan until slightly brown (or you smell the risotto cooking).
Add one cup white wine first. Only stir a little bit to distribute the liquid. Let risotto sit until it absorbs the liquid. But, don’t let it get too dry.
Add one cup heated vegetable broth. Again, let risotto sit until it absorbs almost all the liquid.
Keep adding one cup vegetable broth and the letting the risotto absorb. Gently stir occasionally to prevent risotto from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Risotto will start expanding. Once you’ve hit about six to seven cups of liquid, begin taste testing risotto for doneness. Keep adding liquid until risotto is soft and creamy. If you run out of vegetable broth and the risotto still needs to cook, use hot or boiling water until done.
Towards the end of cooking stir in one of the following optional ingredients: pre-sauteed mushrooms, peas or small pieces of asparagus.
The last cup of liquid to absorb should be one more cup of white wine. Otherwise, the wine flavor is hidden by the vegetable broth taste.
Stir in some shredded parmesean cheese.
Serve in bowls with freshly ground pepper and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. And, the best part is that risotto is just as good the next day as leftovers.
So, resist the urge to stir except to keep the risotto from sticking to the bottom of the pot. You’ll save so much time and have a great side, or main, dish.