Risotto is one of the simplest dishes imaginable, yet it is so often prepared poorly. The key is patience and flawless ingredients. There are no short cuts here.
There are many so wonderful versions of risotto, but I personally like this one as it allows you to learn to basics without any trouble. It really is a simple recipe.
You will note that this is completely vegetarian and can be made as a vegan dish by substituting out the butter and cheese with non dairy options. I've made it both ways, and have to say both are excellent.
If you can follow these few simple steps, you will create a world class risotto in your own kitchen to rival most any. I always suggest a quick read through the recipe prior to beginning so you fully understand the process.
Here are the few things to remember:
- You will need the stock to be boiling and on the stove next to your risotto pan. Save yourself a lot of mess and hassle by placing it on the proper side. If you are right handed, place it on your right side and vice versa. I find a ladle very handy to transfer the broth.
- Use only true Arborio rice or if that is not available, medium grain rice.
- Prepare your dried porcini mushrooms by putting them in a heat proof dish and pouring boiling water over them. Allow them to sit and soak for 15-20 minutes and then drain and retain the soaking liquid to add to your broth.
- Mince your onions prior to beginning, as once you start cooking, you will need to be pretty much constantly stirring and adding more stock. Plan on 15-20 minutes to get a perfect al dente risotto.
2 cups of Arborio Rice
4 cups low sodium Vegetable Stock, diluted by half with water to create 8 cups total.
2 Tbsp Earth Balance or Butter
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
3 Tbsp Onion, finely minced
3/4 cup Porcini Mushrooms, soaked and sliced.
Salt to taste. If you do not use low sodium stock, you will likely need none.
1/2 cup non dairy Parmesan or authentic Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. Grand Pandano is a suitable substitute.
Begin by preparing all of your ingredients and having them handy.
Dilute your stock and bring it to a soft boil. Melt your butter and oil in a large sauté pan and add your onions. Gently sauté until they are translucent.
Add in your rice and stir to coat. Increase you heat slightly. Now add in one ladle of the stock and stir gently until it is almost evaporated and then add another ladle and so on.
Taste after 15 minutes to gauge the timing. The rice should have a slight al dente texture, but should not be hard or crunchy. You will notice the rice starting to puff up. That's a good sign.
Note: If you start to run out of stock, don't panic, just add 1 cup of hot water to the remaining stock.
When the risotto is ready, add your cheese, stir and serve immediately. You may add additional cheese if desired.
Note: For a perfect accent, you may dress the risotto with a fine quality white truffle oil at the very end, just before serving. It is a wonderfully decadent flourish.