dinner party favorite: risotto.


Risotto isn’t hard to make, and yet it’s gained a reputation for being a labor-intensive, fickle feast. Don’t fret, readers. You do not have to stand over the stove, stirring constantly; the trick is simply to incorporate the liquid slowly and stir regularly. Once you’ve made the basic version, you can add vegetables, mushrooms, different cheeses– whatever delights you.

Risotto feels like an indulgent dish because the starchy arborio rice creates a creamy consistency, with little to no added fat. It’s one of the cosiest meals I can think of, and I’m excited to make risotto with chanterelles tonight to celebrate New Year’s.

The recipe I’ve included is my stand-by risotto recipe. Originally from The New York Times, it’s fool-proof and delicious. (And I added a little variation if you, too, would like to create mushroom risotto.)

Cook this for friends, and you’ll be the life of the party. lv, molly

Basic Risotto

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as an appetizer

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (low-sodium if canned)
1 tablespoon butter
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio or vialone rice
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Bring stock to a simmer in a stockpot over medium-low heat; reduce heat to low. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pot, heat the butter (or use part butter and part olive oil) over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the rice and cook over medium-high heat for about one minute, stirring to coat with the butter. Add the white wine and stir until the wine is absorbed, about 30 seconds.
Add the first addition of simmering stock, about 1/2 cup. Stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another addition of stock and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process until the mixture is creamy and a bit loose; the rice should still have some chew to it. The process will take about 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the grated cheese to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

With mushrooms:
1 Tbl olive oil
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/2-1 cup fresh mushrooms (I like shiitakes and chanterelles)

In a saucepan, combine the dried mushrooms and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil; turn the heat to the lowest setting; and let the mushrooms steep for 15 minutes or until softened. Remove the mushrooms and chop them coarsely. Strain the broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tbl olive oil. Cook the mushrooms, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until softened.
Add all mushrooms to risotto when it’s nearly done, a few minutes before adding the parmesan cheese.



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