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Risotto Master Recipe

There is nothing to compare, really, with a well-prepared risotto, but the technique is generally not well-understood.  Combine this with the fact that, outside Italy, restaurants use various methods to avoid the time-consuming preparation, which must be done immediately before service – all of which produce an inferior product compared with the real thing – so it's hard to even get a sense of what you're aiming at without a trip to Italy.

Fortunately the technique is quite simple.

From Elizabeth David, in her classic "Italian Food:"

"Into a heavy pan put a good ounce of butter....In the butter fry a small onion cut very fine; let it turn pale gold but not brown....Now add the rice, allowing about 3 oz. per person....

Stir the rice until it is well impregnated with the butter. It must remain white. Now pour in two thirds of a tumbler of dry white wine and let it cook on a moderate flame until the wine has almost evaporated.

At this moment start adding the stock...add about a breakfast cupful (in American terms, a regular measuring cup) at a time, and keep your eye on the risotto, although at this stage it is not essential to stir continuously.

As the stock becomes absorbed add more; in all you will need about 2 pints for 10 - 12 oz of rice, and if this in not quite enough, dilute it with hot water. Towards the end of the cooking, which will take 20 - 30 minutes, stir continuously using a wooden fork rather than a spoon, which tends to crush the grains.

When you see that the rice is tender, the mixture creamy but not sticky....add 1 oz each of butter and grated Parmesan, and serve the risotto as soon as the cheese has melted."

To which I can only add:

1. For 6 half-cup servings, I use 1 cup rice, 1/3 C wine and 3-4 cups stock. Since it will be concentrated by the slow cooking, the stock should be unsalted. 

2. The hardest part is knowing when it's done. Taste the rice: it should be firmly al dente but not chalky-hard in the middle. If in doubt, stop when it's still a little resistant to the tooth, remove from heat, cover and wait a few minutes. It should be fine. 

3. The possible combinations of stock flavors and add-ins are infinite: the best thing to do is to go wild with invention.

Nutritional Estimate 6 Half-cup Servings. Per serving: 103 Calories; 10 g Total Carbs; 0 g Dietary Fiber; 1 g Sugars; 4 g Fat; 11 mg Cholesterol; 109 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein. Weight Watchers: 2 points.

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I love risotto and learned how to make it while living in Rome. My girlfriends actually showed me a risotto pot that I should have, made of clay.

When adding broth, just add enough to cover the risotto. I use a wooden spoon, no worries about crushing it. I think that would only happen if it was mushy. And like you dais, leave it al dente, firm but not crisp. Be careful as the risotto continues to cook after you take it off the fire. I never cover it though.

Another tidbit is that it tastes great without the wine. I always roast a chile in the oil then take it out if tender taste buds are present.

A fav of the fam is roman artichoke risotto. Ah, drooling at the thought...maybe that will be din tomorrow night.


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