Making risotto is really a matter of employing a method and using consistent proportions, rather than following a specific recipe. The constants are the sautéed onion/butter/olive oil base to which Carnaroli or Arborio rice is added, followed by the addition and absorption of dry white wine. Contrary to popular belief, risotto contains no cream. The lovely, creamy texture is created through the slow addition of high-quality stock to the rice, and the continual stirring process while the stock is absorbed.
The process is slow and contemplative; it can’t be rushed. The key to successful risotto is a singular focus – not trying to do anything else simultaneously. Let others in the kitchen set the table and prepare any additions to the meal. Once they’ve tried great risotto, they’ll be lining up to volunteer! Even people who aren’t keen on rice love well-prepared risotto.
- 1½ oz dried Porcini Mushrooms (any wild mushroom can be substituted)
- 4 c homemade chicken stock
- 2 tbsp non-salted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 c Arborio or Carnaroli Rice
- 1 c dry white wine
- 6 oz sugar snap peas, cleaned and threads removed
- ¼ c freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
Place the dried mushrooms in 1 c of very hot water and leave to steep for 20 minutes. Remove them from the liquid with a slotted spoon, chop and set aside. Reserve the liquid.
Place the chicken stock in a small saucepan and heat to simmer. Add the mushroom liquid. Keep the saucepan at a low simmer throughout the risotto preparation.
In a risotto pan or large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over low to medium heat, add the finely chopped onion and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes).
Add the rice and stir until slightly toasted (about 2 minutes).
Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed and the mixture appears creamy (about 3 minutes).
Add the stock to the risotto pan, one ladleful at a time, stirring almost constantly. Be sure the stock is completely absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladleful (about 20 minutes).
When the risotto is just a little underdone (it should be al dente), add the final ladleful of liquid, the reserved chopped mushrooms and the sugar snap peas. Stir until the liquid is absorbed and the sugar snap peas are bright green and still crunchy (about 3 minutes).
Add the parmigiano reggiano cheese, stir and serve immediately