Cooking Techniques

Kitchen Notes

Risotto is my go-to in the fall and winter when I am hosting a small group of friends for dinner. It’s a companionable dish to make; everyone can have a stir and feel like they played a role in supper. It takes 20 minutes start to finish on the stove and tastes sublime served right away. I’ve heard risotto described as elegant comfort food and I think that sums up this creamy Italian rice dish perfectly.

Basic Ingredients

To make a basic risotto, all you need is Arborio rice, butter, diced onion, stock, wine, and a little Parmesan. But that’s just the starting point, let your taste buds and what’s available at the Farm Stand dictate the rest. Mushrooms, butternut squash, cauliflower, fennel, peas, artichoke and asparagus are terrific in risotto. Seafood, meat, cheeses, and nuts are also grand ingredients. The combinations are endless.

Easy Steps

Start by warming the stock in a saucepan, it’s essential that it stay hot the whole time you are cooking. In a separate, heavy bottom pan, melt the butter, briefly sauté the onions until they are translucent and then add the rice and stir. This is a key step: you want to toast the rice kernels briefly so the risotto doesn’t turn out mushy. Next, add the wine and reduce until it is almost completely evaporated.  Turn the heat to low, add a cup of hot stock to the rice mixture, and stir occasionally until the stock is absorbed. Do not let the rice boil.  Repeat.  The risotto is cooked when it is creamy on the outside and slightly firm (al dente) in the center.  It takes about 4 cups of stock to cook 1 cup of rice.

Tasty Combinations
  • Garlic, Kale and spicy Red Pepper Risotto
  • Apple, Walnut and Gorgonzola Risotto
  • Lobster and Butternut Squash Risotto
  • Pea and Mint Risotto
  • Wild Mushroom Risotto

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