Normally when people think about Italian food the first thing they think about is pasta. Honestly I can’t blame them; pasta is versatile and delicious in all its forms. Something not thought about as much in a world of Olive Gardens and Pinterest dinners, however, is risotto. Much like pasta risotto typically delivers cheesy, carby goodness, with a wide variety of flavor combinations, but in the form of lovingly sauteed rice instead of noodles.
Unfortunately thanks to reality shows like Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef (both which I love) risotto has gotten a bit of a reputation as an exercise in master level cooking far beyond the reaches of even the best professional chefs, let alone a home cook. Turns out that is not at all the case.
The keys to a good risotto are simple: patience, willingness to stir, and brown butter. I find that using brown butter as opposed to olive oil creates such a delightful, nutty background flavor that elevates this recipe from your standard white wine and parmesan preparation of the dish.
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Start by heating the chicken broth in a medium saucepan over low heat on a back burner on your stove. In front of the broth heat the butter over medium heat in a large pan or dutch oven. Allow the butter to melt and start to turn brown, about two minutes. Once the butter has started to brown add the shallot and saute until the shallot turns translucent, about 90 seconds to two minutes. Add the rice and continuously saute until all of the rice has been thoroughly toasted, three-five minutes.
Add the wine and stir until the wine has been reduced and absorbed by the rice and the pan starts to look dry, about two-three minutes. Add about a soup ladle full of the chicken stock to the rice and stir until the rice has absorbed the sauce and the pan once again looks dry. Repeat this process of spooning in the stock and stirring until the broth is absorbed by the rice until the rice has fully cooked, about 25-30 minutes. Once the rice has cooked stir in the parmesan, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately. The rice should pool when it hits the plate.