Risotto doesn’t have to be difficult. Actually, risotto isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming and a bit tedious to make the traditional way. You heat stock, toast rice, then slowly and laboriously stir in the stock, little by little, until it’s all done.
The Food Lab went through all kinds of testing to determine an easier way, so I tried it… And it works great!
There’s no preheating the stock, no constant stirring of the risotto and worrying that it’s not just perfect, and the finish is simple and easy to modify to your taste.
Simple start with 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice, 4 cups of chicken stock, and a cup of dry white wine. Put that all in a large bowl and stir it around with a whisk. Drain the rice, keeping all of the liquid, and let the rice dry a bit, stirring it around, for about 5 minutes or more.
In a large, medium-heat skillet, NOT a risotto pan, add 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil. When the butter is melted and a bit bubbly, add the rice, stirring every now and then until the rice gives off a bit of a nutty aroma… This is toasting the rice, and one step you want to keep from the traditional method! Toasting = good!
Add 3 cloves of minced garlic, and, if desired, 2 minced shallots, and continue cooking for about another minute.
Hold back 1 cup of the liquid (stock+wine), and add the other 4 cups to the skillet, stirring the rice and shaking the pan to evenly distribute it. Bring this to a quick boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover the pan.
Twelve minutes later, stir the risotto again. I differed from the Food Labs recipe on this, as I let the risotto sit for about 10 minutes, with no heat. The rice absorbed the rest of the liquid, and it didn’t overcook.
Put the skillet back over medium-high heat and add the remaining cup of liquid that was reserved, stirring as the liquid heats and absorbs. Remove the skillet from the head and add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (this is where you use the good stuff), and 1/4 cup of heavy cream. I like to add sautéed mushrooms or grilled asparagus, along with any fresh herbs you may like (a bit of basil or oregano is great!). I add some sea salt and white pepper, and the risotto is ready!
How easy is that? Now you can make great risotto and keep the easy part your secret! For a bonus, simmer over indirect heat without the lid on a closed wood-fired grill at 350F and add some wood flavor!
- 1½ cups Arborio rice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, diced/minced
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- salt and white pepper
- Whisk the rice in a large bowl with the stock and risotto, then drain the rice, saving all the liquid. Set aside 1 cup of the liquid.
- Stir the rice while drying for about 5 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet (one with a lid) over a medium-high burner and add the butter and oil until the butter melts and is bubbly, then add the rice and stir frequently for about 5 minutes, until the rice gives off a nutty aroma.
- Add the shallots and garlic and stir for another minute.
- Add the stock and wine, except for the 1 cup set aside, to the rice and stir, then shake the pan to distribute the rice more evenly.
- Bring a boil, then cover and simmer for 12 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and take the lid off, resting the rice for about 10 minutes.
- Put the skillet back on a medium-high heat fire and add the remaining stock/wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese, cream, salt and pepper, and any herbs or additions desired.
- Serve immediately.