Risotto is comfort food in any season, but it’s especially welcome on cool, drippy days, when stirring a potful in rhythm with the rainfall can both ease the spirit and rouse the appetite. This Italian classic is made with short-grain rice, a rounded, starchy rice that turns wonderfully creamy when simmered in broth or other liquids. Enriched with Organic Valley Parmesan and butter, it makes a nourishing side or main dish. Enjoy it as is or use it a “blank palette” to which you add lean meat, seasonal vegetables or fresh herbs.
There’s a myth that you have to stir risotto constantly to get good results, but in fact you can leave it alone for brief periods--to go about other meal-making business--and still get the preferred texture: creamy grains with a slight give at the center suspended in a smooth sauce.
Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan, add salt to taste (if needed), then turn off the heat and keep it warm at the back of the stove. Heat butter in a medium-large, heavy saucepan. When the butter begins to foam, add onions; cook over medium-low flame, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Raise heat to medium, add rice and cook, stirring occasionally until it begins to turn translucent and make sizzling sounds, 3-5 minutes.
Add enough wine to just about cover the rice; cook, stirring almost constantly until nearly all the liquid is absorbed. Now add 1-2 cups stock—enough to barely cover the rice--and stir it steadily for a several minutes at a time, until it’s mostly absorbed. Continue to add stock ½ to 1 cup at a time--plus salt if needed--and stir very frequently for several minutes at a time until liquid is mostly absorbed. Risotto is done when rice is barely tender, with the slightest give at the center, and mixture is creamy and thick. This should take about 30 minutes from the time you added the first stock. (Adjust heat if rice is absorbing liquid too quickly or too slowly.) Stir in optional additions 5-10 minutes before the risotto is done.
Turn off the heat and stir in half the Parmesan and the softened butter. Let the risotto stand. Serve in shallow bowls topped with additional Parmesan sprinkled on top. Makes 6 servings.
• Sautéed fresh mushrooms or cooked, reconstituted dried mushrooms
• Chopped Organic Prairie deli ham or cooked chicken
• A sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon, thyme, or dill.
• Blanched, chopped greens, such as chard or spinach
• Lightly cooked corn kernels, zucchini or asparagus
• Cooked, pureed squash
• Crumbled Organic Valley feta or blue cheese
• Sustainably raised salmon or scallops
Copyright by Terese Allen