When one hears ‘risotto’, one is immediately transported to a state of comfort and satisfaction. There are few things more comforting than a bowl of risotto. However, if you’re the one who’s responsible for cooking said risotto, you know you have to tend to it like a newborn. It isn’t a difficult dish to prepare, doesn’t require special tools or equipment, doesn’t include a ton if ingredients, but risotto is not something you can walk away from. It takes time, patience and a lot of love.
The love part I got a lot of these days, what with my two beautiful kids and my perfect husband, but the patience and the time part…those, I’m a little short on. So when I needed to make a ton of risotto for multiple clients today, I decided to try something new. And it worked brilliantly!
Basically, risotto is made ‘creamy’ by slowly developing the starch in rice. If you add your stock slowly, a little at a time, while stirring your rice, it will soak up that stock and the starches will take their sweet time to mature and create a luscious, rich and ‘creamy’ texture… without the use of cream. But with this new ‘lazy’ and much easier method, you’re letting the oven do most of the work for you and only stirring a small amount. So…I made my risotto and I wasn’t even in the kitchen doing it. That’s incredible!!
Whenever I make risotto, I do a few things differently than most- I like to throw a rind of Parmigiano Reggiano into the rice/stock as it’s cooking to infuse more flavor. And I don’t always add butter at the end. I taste it to see if it needs more richness and play that part by ear. Most of the time the cheese is enough for me. I also like to add a squeeze of lemon at the end if I feel it’s missing something, this usually depends on the type of dry white wine I’m using- whether or not I think it needs more acid.
I’m not saying I’ll never make risotto in the traditional manner again, I’m just glad to know that when I’m strapped for time (and patience), I can make a whole lot of the stuff this way and have it be equally as amazing.
And that, my friends, satisfies the hell out of this busy mom.
A B B E Y ‘ S L A Z Y R I S O T T O
-In your food processor (for ease) shred or grate 2 cups of Parmigiano Regiano (the real stuff!! It makes the BIGGEST difference. If you can’t find a good price on real parm, then I would recommend Pecorino Romano or Asiago, but NOT domestic parmesan – And 2 cups shredded is roughly a 3/4-1 lb wedge.). Set aside in the fridge while you cook your risotto.
-Heat up (either on the stove or if you’re really in a hurry like I was, in the microwave) 7 cups of good quality chicken stock (you will most likely only need 6 though, and yes, it really does make a huge difference to use the good stuff. If you’re buying it- use Swanson. Otherwise, make your own) with the rind of your wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano.
-While your stock is heating, in a large Dutch oven or oven-safe stockpot, sauté 1 medium, yellow or white onion, minced, in a small amount of oil. Season with kosher salt. Cook until translucent.
-Add in 2 1/4 cups of arborio rice and stir to coat it in the oil and onions. Allow to toast for about a minute or so and then pour in 6 cups of your hot stock (with the parm rind). Stir and cover with a lid.
–Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until most of the stock has been absorbed and the rice is still al dente.
-Remove from the heat, remove the lid and immediately stir in 1 cup of a dry white wine and your 2 cups of cheese. Stir fast and furiously. No need for the flame to be on here, there’s enough heat in the pot.
-Season with more salt to taste, if necessary. If your risotto is too tight, add more hot stock. And add a couple tablespoons of unsalted butter AND/OR a good squeeze of fresh lemon if you’d like as well.
-Fish out the cheese rind before serving and please, for the love of god, chew on it before you throw it away. Trust me.
-Now you can add in whatever you’d like…peas, parsley, sautéed spinach… top with a protein to make it a complete meal, or just eat it plain and perfect.