Risotto is undoubtedly delicious. But making it requires a bit of patience, as you'll basically be repeating the same steps over and over again for about 25-30 minutes.
But, much like life, it's not always about the destination (in this case, a creamy bowl of delicious risotto) - the journey itself can be just as enjoyable.
Grab a large pan or a shallow pot (a dutch oven is perfect), a wooden spoon, a soup ladle, and perhaps put on some vibey music, and allow yourself to get into the groove. With some experience under your belt, risotto can be a mindless, fun, and even therapeutic activity. Here's what you'll need...
1) Arborio rice (1 lb package)
2) Churn Tomato & Basil butter (2 oz)
3) Spinach (1 lb bag)
4) Chicken stock (2 quarts. It's important to keep your stock at a warm temperature. Heat up in a small pot right next to your risotto pot. With your ladle, you'll be continuously adding the stock and stirring it into the risotto, so you'll need to have the stock warm so it doesn't cool down the pot when poured in.)
5) White wine (1 bottle. Have it at room temperature)
6) Olive Oil
7) Shallots and/or garlic (minced) **if desired**
8) Parmesan Cheese (Pecorino, or Reggiano) - grated
9) Freshly chopped sage (feel free to add any fresh herbs you like. Basil, parsley, chives, tarragon, etc. - it all works and is delicious!)
10) Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1) Turn the heat under your pot to medium, and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Heat until oil starts to shimmer, about 1 minute.
2) Toss in your shallots and/or garlic. Sauté until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Don't brown.
3) Pour in your arborio rice into the hot pot. Stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes, until rice is toasted. You should be able to see the rice grains brighten in color, and smell the aromas from the toasting rice.
4) You've toasted the rice. Now's the time to start the "risotto" method, of continuously adding in chicken stock and white wine to the rice for about 25 minutes, until the grains are soft.
The natural starches of the arborio rice will magically release throughout the process of adding stock/wine and stirring, working with you to create the creamy consistency desired. I use a ratio of 2/1 or 3/1 (stock to wine) because I like the acidic taste of the wine in the risotto. If you like it milder, use a 4/1 ratio of stock to wine.
You never want to drown the risotto in the broth and wine. Always add in enough to just barely submerge the rice grains in liquid. A phrase that I heard endlessly while learning how to cook risotto in culinary school was, "just break the plain of the grain" with the liquid. Once you pour enough to just coat the rice grains, stir rapidly, never allowing the rice to stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep your heat on medium heat. Repeat this process for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring vigorously, adding in salt and pepper throughout, and tasting as you go, until the risotto grains are softened to your liking.
For those using a 2/1 ratio of stock to wine, add in wine for every 2 times you add in stock. So the order should go...
stock -- stock -- wine -- stock -- stock -- wine... and so on, for about 20-25 minutes, until the risotto is soft.
If you want less acidity in the risotto, use a 3/1 or 4/1 ratio. Knowing what you prefer may take some practice. That's why it's important to taste as you go! If the dish is too acidic and you taste too much of the wine for your liking, simply reduce the ratio to add in more stock. And remember to season with salt and pepper throughout!
5) Once the risotto grains are soft, and you've achieved a creamy (but not too thick) consistency, turn off your heat, add in your spinach and grated parmesan, and stir until the spinach has throughly wilted.
6) Serve the risotto with a steelhead trout filet on top, which was just seasoned with salt and pepper, seared on each side for about 5-6 minutes in a pan, and basted at the end with our garlic & shallot butter. Options instead of trout would be any other fish filet, scallops, shrimp.. even a sliced chicken breast.
This recipe can be difficult and time consuming. Once you get the hang of it, I'm confident you'll enjoy the process, and will want to start cooking it a few times a month like I do!
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org