From the moment I first began to cook I had always wanted to make risotto. Just the name itself sounded fancy...and complicated. When I finally got up the nerve to try my hand at this Italian classic, I discovered making a simple risotto is not as hard as it seems, if you are willing to throw in some time, and a few fresh ingredients. Here's my simplified spin on this savory time-honored dish.
Don't let Gordon Ramsey scare you! You can make a terrific risotto right at home in your own kitchen. One of the great things about risotto is that you can serve it as a side, or throw in some some shrimp or chicken and make it a one-dish meal (my kids love when I add in some shrimp).
Here are two tips to remember when making risotto:
- keep your chicken broth simmering in a large pot next to the skillet you are making your risotto. When its time to add liquid, you don't want to be adding cold broth to your hot risotto.
- the key to a creamy risotto is the proper cook time. Once you start adding liquid to the risotto you will want to continue stirring all the way through the cooking process until it's ready to serve. Don't be afraid to taste as you go. Under cooked risotto will be crunchy, over cooked will be sticky.
2. Toast the rice along with the onion/mushroom/garlic mixture for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently, taking care not to let the rice burn. Then add the white wine (you don't have to purchase the finest of wines - I use simple cooking wine) and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. At this point, your risotto should resemble something like this:
3. Toss in a few sprigs of fresh thyme and stir. Now its time to get cooking! Begin adding your chicken broth about one cup at a time (I just use a big soup ladle). Stir continually. As the liquid is absorbed, add another cup of broth and continue this process until the risotto is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed (approximately 15 to 20 minutes) - this is a good time to be tasting. It's okay if you don't use all of the prepared chicken broth.
4. Remove the thyme sprigs and add and pinch of salt, the peas, and the Parmesan cheese and stir. Serve immediately.