There’s a reason why, growing up, my mother never made risotto at home, even though it’s one of her favorite foods.
The most important thing about risotto is patience. It’s very easy to get tired of all the stirring or get really hangry from the delicious smell and just give up. Because that’s when you start eating crunchy undercooked rice. And nobody wants that.
But, when you do have time and don’t need to eat RIGHT NOW, risotto is worth the work. And delicious.
Honestly, if I had the time to make this every week, I’d be fat and happy.
Risotto alla Milanese from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano:
1 teaspoon saffron threads
8 cups chicken stock, heated until hot
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cut dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, plus more for serving
- Add the saffron to the hot stock, stirring to infuse.
- In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until almost smoking. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the wine, then add a 4- to 6-once ladleful of the stock and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding the stock a ladleful at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed each time before adding more, until the rice is tender and creamy yet still a little al dente, about 18 minutes* (you may have a little stock left over).
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmigiano until well mixed. Divide the risotto among four warmed plates, and serve with additional Parmigiano.
*Ed note: in my experience, it always takes much longer than this. But all that stirring builds up your upper body strength.