If you've always wanted to make risotto but weren't sure how to do it, this simple risotto recipe is virtually foolproof and will have you cooking like a seasoned pro in no time. I like to serve this herb risotto with shrimp or other seafood. It also pairs nicely with turkey, chicken or game birds. For red meats, use red wine instead of white and beef stock instead of poultry/vegetable stock, and more aromatic herbs like rosemary for a heartier risotto to serve with roast pork, ham, beef, buffalo, venison or other game meats. The keys to success are to use Arborio rice, which has the correct starchiness needed for making risotto, and to let the rice fully absorb each addition of stock before adding more. Another tip: use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to gently stir the rice without damaging the grains. This recipe serves 6 as a vegetarian main course, and up to 12 if served as a side dish.
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 Tbs butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 cup white wine (something you'd enjoy drinking)
2 to 2 1/2 cups poultry stock or vegetable stock (heat for faster absorption)
1/2 Tbs dried herbs of your choice (oregano, thyme, tarragon, Italian herb blend, etc.)
1/4 tsp ground pepper (preferably white pepper)
3/4 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese (not from a can)
Heat the butter or oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot. Saute the rice in the butter or oil over medium-high heat for two minutes until all grains are coated. Stir in the wine and cook until fully absorbed by the rice. Stir in 1/2 cup of hot stock and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed. Keep adding stock in 1/2-cup increments, allowing each half-cup to be fully absorbed before adding more, and stirring frequently. After 2 cups of stock have been absorbed, taste the rice for doneness: It should be al dente to taste. If still too chewy, add an additional 1/2 cup of stock and cook until fully absorbed. Once cooked to taste, reduce heat, stir in the herbs and fold in the cheese, gently stirring until melted. Serve hot.