Aphorisms from the Professor: Brillat-Savarin

Monday, July 19, 2010

risotto: i'll finally tell you how we do it

What makes risotto a great dish to have in your arsenal is that once you have the basics down, you can use just about any ingredients you can think of/have in the pantry and the possibilities are endless. All you need is time (consider it a time to catch up on some podcasts) and patience.

After a string of risotto successes, I think I can safely say that this is a dish my boyfriend and I have mastered. Perhaps the greatest proof is the fact that tonight I basically made the risotto myself, while my boyfriend gave instructions from the doorway (okay, he also chopped garlic, grated cheese, and took over stirring duty towards the end).

So here is tonight's creation: Risotto with sauteed green and white patty pan squash, onion, sage and chives

Now that I am a Risotto Master, it seems only fair that I break it down for you (but since we don't use measuring cups or anything when we've made risotto, all amounts are approximate):

Risotto Basics (serves 4)
- heat some olive oil and 1/4 stick of butter in a pan (ideally you want something wide and flat, but with sides, we use a stir fry pan)
- with burner on medium high, add arborio rice  (1 lb)
- heat 64 oz of chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want to keep it vegetarian)
- once rice is hot, reduce heat (simmer-low)
- add chicken stock to rice one ladle at a time. After each ladle is added, stir until liquid is fully absorbed before adding another ladle-ful
- after about half the stock is gone (at this point you should begin to see the starchy goodness coming off the rice), add white wine (1/4 cup), herbs (whichever you are using) and chopped garlic
- add whatever veggies you are using after about 3/4 of stock is gone (you may want to saute these before adding to the rice, depending on what you are using)
- once the rice looks decadently creamy and is cooked through (test by taste) finish with a generous amount of grated parmesean cheese (1/2 cup)

NOTE: Risotto is easy to make but takes quite a bit of time, in our experience at least an hour.  So don't get discouraged when the rice doesn't seem to be cooking or you aren't seeing the starchy goodness. It takes time, but it WILL happen!

Basic Risotto on Foodista


  1. You are right. At some point, the risotto just happens, and you go from sad to very happy in minutes! The weather has cooled down just a bit, so making risotto with awesome summer veggies would be a nice change right now.

  2. Your risotto looks so delicious! I remember reading in a Jamie Oliver Italian cookbook once that risotto is a "fast food dish for Italian moms", and I recall thinking that it is certainly not fast and takes a lot of patience. Maybe Italians have more time on their hands??

  3. Kelsey -- it's funny you mention that. The first time we decided to try risotto it was because Matt found a video where Jamie Oliver is all "look how fast risotto is!". Needless to say I did not take it well when our risotto did not cook as fast as he led me to believe....