Risotto Recipes
Basic Risotto with Parmesan Cheese
Springtime Risotto with Asparagus and Peas
Fresh Corn Risotto
Risotto with Peas and Pancetta
A good risotto should be silky smooth and creamy with a slight bite to each rice grain and the distinctive influence of other ingredients.  Virtually anything edible
can become the flavor base of a risotto: cheese, fish, meat, or vegetables. You must be willing to endure 25-30 minutes of stirring required to coax the starch from
the plump grains of Arborio rice.  This rice is a specialty of Italy's Piedmont and Lombardy regions with the best varieties being Arborio, Vialone Nano, and
Carnaroli.  The ingredients of a risotto's flavor base usually rest on a foundation of chopped onion sautéed in butter or olive oil, and sometimes with added garlic. 
Raw rice is added to the hot butter or oil and is lightly toasted.  A ladleful of hot liquid is then added.  The rice is stirred until the liquid is absorbed.  More liquid is
added and the procedure is repeated until the rice is cooked.  It is this gradual adding of small quantities of liquid that transforms the rice's soft starch allowing
the grains to bind together and absorb the flavor base.

An important thing to note before starting a risotto recipe is that the quantity of liquid suggested is approximate.  You should be prepared to use more, or
sometimes less, as the risotto requires.  If you use up your cooking liquid before the rice is fully cooked, continue by adding water.  Begin to taste the rice after 20
minutes cooking, so you can judge how much longer it needs to cook and how much more liquid you will need.  Usually after only 20 minutes of cooking the
center of the rice grain will be chalky and hard.  Expect to cook the rice another 5-10 minutes. The rice should not be cooked so long that it is soft at the center. 
It should be tender, but still firm to the bite.  Risotto should not be eaten piping hot.  It tastes better when it has rested a minute or two on your serving plate.  When
Italians eat risotto, they often spread it out on their plate to dissipate some of the heat.
Do not attempt to to make risotto with regular long grain rice, the results will not be the same.
Short grain rice has a high starch content that helps to create risotto's creamy texture.
Basic Risotto with Parmesan Cheese
(Serves 6)


1 (14 ounce) can beef or chicken broth
3 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste


Combine the broth and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Put 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep saucepan
over medium heat. Add the chopped onion.  Cook and stir until the onion
becomes translucent, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add the
rice and stir to coat the grains, sauté 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the
simmering broth and stir almost constantly with a long handled spoon.  When
there is no more liquid in the pot, add another 1/2 cup and continue to stir.

Begin to taste the rice after 20 minutes of cooking. It is done when tender, but
firm to the bite and not chalky.  Total cooking time should be 25-30 minutes.
When the rice is 1 to 2 minutes from being done, add the Parmesan cheese
and remaining butter. Taste for seasoning and transfer to a serving dish.
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Risotto with Peas and Pancetta
(Serves 6)


2 cups frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme or pinch of dried thyme
2 cups Arborio rice
1-1/3 cups white wine
6 cups chicken stock, heated
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon white truffle oil (optional)


Reserve 1/2 cup of the peas and set aside.  Put 1-1/2 cups peas in a food
processor and puree until smooth.

In a large, wide saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add pancetta, onion,
garlic, and thyme.  Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add
rice and stir to coat with the oil.  Cook rice 1 to 2 minutes.  Add wine and
simmer until most of the wine has evaporated.  Add 1 cup of the hot stock and
allow to cook until absorbed.  Add remaining stock, 1 cup at a time, until the
rice is creamy.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add enough of the pea puree to
flavor and color the rice without making it soupy.  Stir in the butter, Parmesan,
and reserved peas.  Spoon into bowls and drizzle with truffle oil.
Any meat, vegetables, or seafood that is
added to risotto using this method must be
cooked separately, and added to the risotto
at the end of its cooking time.

In a 5 to 7 quart pressure cooker, heat the
butter and/or oil that is specified in the recipe. 
Add the onions  (and garlic if specified), and
sauté until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add
the rice and sauté 2-3 minutes.  Add all
liquids, unheated.

Lock the top in place and bring to high
pressure over high heat.  Adjust the heat to
maintain pressure.  Cook for 7 minutes.
Release the pressure according to
manufacturers instructions.

Carefully remove lid.  Stir in meat,
vegetables, seafood, or cheese as specified
in the recipe.  Season with salt and pepper.
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Springtime Risotto with Asparagus and Peas 
(Serves 4)


6 ounces asparagus
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 scallions, chopped
3/4 cup short grain rice, such as Arborio
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cut the tips off the asparagus and set them aside.
Chop the asparagus stalks into 1/2-inch pieces and set them aside.

Bring the chicken or vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
Turn the heat to low to keep warm.

In a large wide saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil over
medium heat.  Add the onion; sauté until lightly golden, about 8 minutes.
Add the scallions and cook for 1 minute.  Add the rice; saute for about 3
minutes or until the rice is hot and coated with the oil and butter.  Add the
wine; cook until it has evaporated.

Begin to add the warm broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently after each
addition.  Wait until each addition of broth is almost absorbed before adding
more.  After the mixture has cooked for about 10 minutes, stir in the chopped
asparagus stems.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Continue adding broth until the rice is tender to the bite and looks creamy,
about 18 to 20 minutes total cooking time.  Stir in the asparagus tips and
peas; cook 2 minutes more.  Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter,
Fontina, and Parmesan cheeses. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1
minute; serve.
Fresh Corn Risotto
(Serves 6)


6 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup corn kernels (from 2 ears)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Salt and pepper


In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil.
Keep the stock warm over very low heat.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion and cook over
moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring until opaque, about 3 minutes.
Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed, about 1
minute.  Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring,
until nearly absorbed.  Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time and stirring
until it is absorbed between additions.  After about half of the stock has been
added, stir in the corn, then add the remaining stock.
The rice is done when it's al dente and creamy, about 25 minutes total.
Stir in the cheese and butter; season with salt and pepper and serve.
Risotto Recipes
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