RECIPE: Cheesy Risotto
A nice creamy, cheesy, flavorful risotto is one of life’s great pleasures as far as I am concerned. There use to be a day when I only got to enjoy this wonderful treat when I was dining at a fancy restaurant somewhere. I would enjoy it so completely and then dream about it for years after that. The sad fact is that not many restaurants these days actually have risotto on their menus and because of that I wasn’t able to indulge my risotto cravings. That has changed.
I used to think that making risotto was so hard to do. After all the slow adding of broth in batches and waiting for it to absorb before adding more always seemed to me to be an arduous task. Boy, was I wrong. Making a really enjoyable risotto at home is not only fairly easy but it really doesn’t take much more time then most home cooked meals. The ingredient list is really simple for a basic risotto too.
Now over the last few years I’ve tried several different risotto recipes and most were either not creamy enough and bordering on dry or they were nearly tasteless. But recently I found this recipe for a basic cheese risotto on the back of the bag of Arborio rice (what a novel idea, right?). I was hesitant to try it because I’ve done that before and was let down but this one turned out to be surprisingly different and yielded a fantastic risotto.
The ingredient list is small and most of the stuff you probably already have in your pantry.
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, diced
1 Cup Arborio Rice
5 Cups of hot stock
3/4 cup White Wine
1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp Butter
In a large saucepan saute the onion in the oil until soft and translucent. Then add the rice and saute with the onion for a few minutes. Add the white wine to the mixture and cook until the wine is absorbed. I used a nice Pinot Grigio (Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Pinot Grigio 2010 – California). I LOVE the smell of cooking with wine. It just fills the house with warmth and love in my opinion but I digress…make sure this mixture is cooking on medium heat.
After the wine is absorbed start adding 1/2 cup of the hot broth to the mixture and wait until it is almost completely absorbed before you add 1/2 cup more. Continue this process until all the liquid is used and absorbed. The whole process might take about 30 to 40 minutes. Don’t try to rush it by turning up the heat or skimping on the amount of liquid. This process is what makes risotto creamy and…well…yummy. Trust me it’s worth it. For the hot broth I used 5 cups of water and added 2 cubes of my favorite Rapunzel Vegan Veggie Bouillon with Sea Salt and Herbs. I really think that this made all the difference when it came to the deep flavor of this risotto.
Once all the liquid is absorbed add the Parmesan cheese and mix in until well incorporated. Remove from heat and add the butter and mix well. I used Smart Balance Organic Whipped Buttery Spread but you can use regular butter or margarine if you like too. Now all that’s left is to serve to your waiting diners.
I served the risotto with a veggie chicken patty (Gardien Chik’n Scallopinin) dredged in flour and cooked in olive oil until golden brown but I am sure this risotto would go great with real chicken as well. 🙂 I also served it with a side of steamed Asparagus in a lemon buttter sauce.
I loved this risotto and will definitely make it again. There are times where I just want a nice, decadent feeling rice side and this one definitely fits the bill. Give it a try. I am sure you’ll like it too.