Risotto is like jazz. You get a feel for it, and gradually understand that the recipe is just a starting point.
Once learned the perfect risotto is simple to prepare, yet sure to delight.
Two things are critical. The first is fresh rice. The older the rice, the drier it is and the more liquid it will absorb and the less it will taste like rice. It is worth investing in Vialone Nano variety, which is superior to Arborio. It is important to use good broth — homemade is preferable — and to heat it, along with the wine, prior to adding it to the risotto. A recipe follows, but it is just a starting point. The key is to add hot liquid until you get a creamy mass in which each grain is separate and firm, yet soft.
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, about 1/2 cup
- Water from soaking the mushrooms plus 1 quart chicken broth
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 6 tablespoons olive oil or 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons porcini oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Nano rice
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
How to make it
Cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water and allow to sit 15 minutes, then drain, reserving the broth. Combine this broth with 1 quart of chicken broth and white wine in a saucepan, bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, warm 4 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the minced onion and cook until soft. Add the rice and stir for 5 minutes.
Begin adding the hot broth, stirring well between each addition, until the rice is tender.
Stir in the softened porcini mushrooms and half the cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.