Risotto Made Easy

If I see risotto on the menu at a restaurant, what to order becomes instantly easy. This creamy, but al dente type of rice dish is a favorite of mine and surprisingly easy to cook.

For information on the four varieties of rice that are typically used for risotto and why they are chosen, check out New Good Food: Essential Ingredients for Cooking and Eating Well (pages 54-55) and New Good Food Shopper's Pocket Guide (pages 52–53).

Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a 4 quart capacity pot over medium heat. Add onion or leek and sauté it for 3 minutes. Then add either pre-soaked dried porcini mushrooms or 1 cup fresh mushrooms, and fresh or dried rosemary or thyme. Continue to sauté for another 2 minutes until the onion is translucent and the mushrooms are lightly brown.

Add 1 cup rice, stirring to coat each kernel with the oil, for approximately 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the rice with the salt. Then, over medium-high heat, add 1/2 cup of hot stock, stirring constantly until the liquid is completely absorbed. Repeat with the remaining stock, adding 1/2 cup at a time.

Gradual additions of stock allow the rice to release starch, producing a creamy texture while the kernel remains al dente, usually taking about 18-20 minutes. For added richness, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top just before serving.

*If using dried porcini mushrooms, place in bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Allow 20 minutes for the mushrooms to soften and then drain them through a paper coffee filter to strain the soaking liquid. Use the soaking water as part of the stock needed for the recipe. Finely chop the softened mushrooms to use during the preparation of the risotto.

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