This risotto is so good that I expect to receive marriage proposals every time I make it. But that’s not the only reason why it’s such a staple around here. It’s also incredibly delicious and endlessly customizable. You can make it with just about any ingredients you have around, and it will come out superbly each time. I’ve never been satisfied with risottos from restaurants, but this one hits the spot. Even better, it makes a great next-day lunch if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers.
First, prepare the vegetables/chicken/seafood you want to add to the risotto. I steamed some asparagus, zucchini, and peas for this batch and warmed up some leftover chicken. Then, heat 1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock in a covered pot with herbs like thyme or rosemary. Once the stock starts simmering, turn the heat down low.
Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil to a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Throw in a diced onion and minced garlic, and mix them around until they become translucent. Next, add 1 cup of arborio rice to the pot and mix it around to coat it with the oil. One cup of rice yields two very generous main-course servings of risotto. After it’s coated, pour in 1/4 cup of white wine and stir until the rice absorbs it. You can add beer instead of the wine for a different take on the risotto!
Then, add 2 ladles of your heated stock to the pot of rice and continuously stir until the liquid is largely absorbed. All the stirring is a great arm workout, second only to the one you’ll get when you move your fork from the bowl to your mouth when it’s time to eat. Continue this process until all of your stock is used up. I’ve found that 1 quart of stock is the right amount of liquid to cook 1 cup of arborio rice to perfection. Your rice should be slightly loose and tender, neither mushy nor hard, when it’s done.
Turn off the heat and mix in the ingredients you prepared earlier along with 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and the zest of 1 lemon. You can also experiment with different zests to add flavor (you already know I’m a fan of parmesan, pepper, and lemon). Orange zest is particularly good if you used beer instead of wine before adding the stock! When plated, “Top Chef” says the risotto should spread. Using the ratios I provided here, you should attain the elusive spreading, but even if you don’t, your risotto will be the best you’ve ever had! Well, at least it’s the best I’ve ever had.