I don’t know why risotto has such a bad rap about being so difficult and time-consuming to make. If you don’t believe me just look at Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio‘s face every time a contestant tells him they’re making risotto in a challenge. Countless contestants on the show have gone home because of the so-called “risotto curse” for not making it perfect. But let’s be honest it’s Tuesday and I don’t want to spend hours at the stove stirring the perfect pot of risotto, so I cheat.
The basics of cooking risotto are pretty easy, sweat onions and other aromatics then add the raw unwashed Arborio rice and stir constantly. The starch that is coming from the rice and the slowly added boiling stock creates a creamy rice dish that is a staple in Italy. Sounds easy enough but I found a way to cheat so I’m not stuck at the stove stirring a pot feeling like a witch brewing up a potion. I start off the common way of sweating aromatics and par cooking the rice before deglazing with white wine and stock, the difference for me is I only do the traditional stirring for the first half of the cooking. There’s a point in the cooking that you can tell the rice can handle more liquid at a time so add it then add it all, and slap a lid on it.
I know I know, calm down friends from culinary school, hear me out. I found that most of the starch is released in the first half of the cooking process so as long as your extracting the starch at that point you’ll be fine. The other key thing to do to get the creamy consistency you’re expecting isn’t until right before you serve it when you add cold butter and Parmesan to the rice once the rice is removed from the heat. Beat those two in vigorously (but not too much that the rice is breaking apart) and you have risotto that you didn’t kill yourself making. Will Tom Colicchio keep you on Top Chef with this recipe? Honestly probably not, but will your family think you worked really hard on dinner? Yes, yes they will and those are the only judges that matter.
- 5 cups Chicken Stock
- 1 Shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1 sprig Thyme
- 1/2 dry White Wine
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
- In a medium saucepan bring the chicken stock, Italian seasonings, salt to taste and thyme to a boil then reduce the heat so the liquid is just simmering.
- While the stock is coming to a boil, in a large saute pan add a little oil and sweat the shallot with a little salt. Making sure not to brown.
- Once the shallot is translucent, add garlic and rice and saute until the rice is also transparent.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add the simmering stock a ladle at a time stirring well, only adding more once the liquid has been absorbed.
- Once about half, the liquid has been added and the rice is about halfway cooked, add the rest of the stock to the rice and place a lid on the pan and allow to cook on medium for 20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.
- Add in the butter and parmesan and stir the rice well but not to the point that the rice is braking. Season with salt and pepper as needed.