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Risotto...where to start?

My un-foodie husband has now watched Hell's Kitchen enough that Risotto has caught his attention. As he's colorblind, the pea risotto even looks good to him and he's asking why I don't make Risotto at home.
Well....I did buy arborio rice a couple of months ago. But I can't get enthused at the cooking time (see the Chowhound wild mushroom risotto recipe for a way to kill well
over an hour at a hot stove top in summer.)
Is Risotto made with chicken stock and little else as boring as it sounds?

(I think the lobster risotto last night is what he really, really wants.)
Suggestions?

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  1. 1) Stop watching that show. Ugh.
    2) Risotto is labor intensive, but the end product is worth it. Add a minced shallot in the beginning, reggiano and a dash of cream at the end, and even if you're using supermarket chicken stock it should turn out lovely.

    With the leftovers, mix in a beaten egg, roll into little balls, coat with breadcrumbs, deep fry until golden brown.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Darkcloud

      No cream! If you make risotto correctly with the right kind of rice it will be creamy enough on it's own. The starch from the rice provides that lovely texture. Cheese is great though, a must for good risotto.

      Love the idea about the leftovers!

      1. re: Darkcloud

        Don't forget to add a half inch cube of mozzarella to the center of your rice balls.

        1. re: Darkcloud

          Classic risotto Milanese, accompanied by a flute of cold Veuve Cliquot.

        2. There are so many variations on it, but realize that it really doesn't need more than an hour. That's not that bad! Your stock and cheese are very important. Another way to add excellent flavor is by caramelizing a good deal of onions or shallots at the beginning. Once they're soft and sweet, stir in your rice to coat the kernels. Deglaze with wine and then start adding your stock.

          Very important: make sure your stock is simmering as you add it, otherwise cold stock will lower the temperature of the risotto and ruin the texture.

          For add-ins, you've got mushrooms, asparagus, seafood, really any veggie...you can't go wrong.

          1. This might be helpful:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/391961

            And it really doesn't take an hour of cooking - I'd say more like 20 - 25 minutes at the most. My favorite is tomatoes, smoked mozzarella and basil.

            Oh - and I never put cream in mine - the process itself will make the risotto creamy.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              That combination sounds wonderful

              It usually takes me 20-20 mins to make enough for four. I use wine to deglaze and put the stock (mixed with a little sherry or marsala) on the stove to keep warm. If using dried mushrooms, I add the soaking liquid to the stock for extra flavour.

              My usual one is wild mushroom, fresh thyme, scallops and shrimp and I use equal parts clam juice and veggie stock.

              Lobster sounds wonderful too., especially with asparagus.....

              oh dear, supposed to be on a diet this week!

              1. re: Densible

                I usually add some chopped fresh tomatoes about half way through the cooking, then add the chopped or grated mozzarella and the basil when the risotto is done.

                1. re: Densible

                  Yes Densible, your are right, I don't recall taking an hour. Maybe for the entire process, but not the cooking rime. 30 minutes. A favorite is 3 mushroom and another asparagus and fresh peas. Think the recipes all were EPI. and they always turn out so good.

                2. re: MMRuth

                  once again MMRuth hits the nail on the head with the link to the other site.

                  this time of year jfood does not make as much risotto as in the colder months in CT. He likes the Organic Vegetable stock and chicken stock combos for the flavor and whatever else strikes his fancy.

                  The biggest part of the process is psychological. It ain't that hard. And jfood is not a constant stirrer. whenever he adds the next ladle of broth he stirs for a minute then let's it simmer. The end result is well worth the time.

                3. I don't have the recipe on hand (and won't be home tonight to find it), but search the recipe boards (epicurious, allrecipe, etc.) and find a "no stir" risotto. The receipe I have at home is made with yellow and green squash (or zucchini if you prefer) and white wine and shallots. Very yummy.

                  1. I made risotto for the first time a couple months ago. It's quite simple and it only takes about 25 minutes. I have made it with spinach, wild mushroom, asparagus, and just plain. It's always delicious. I use store-bought chicken broth with sauvignon blanc. As the others have said, make sure your chicken broth is simmering in another pot on the stove. And start with shallots or onions.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cecilia

                      yes, good advice about the simmering pot of broth. That is essential. I have made risotto several times and it is always worth it. One of my favorite winter risotto's is a Martha Stewart everyday recipe for Tomato and Sausage risotto. Absolutely wonderful, filling and very satisfying. I have no real problems reheating it for lunch for myself either. Not as great as freshly made, but still good the next day with some garlic bread and a caesar salad.

                      The first time I made risotto I had saved a recipe for months, finally bought the crawfish, etc. and began to cook. I did not realize that it was a recipe for 12!!! We literally invited several neighbors over to stand around and stir in 15 minute intervals, drink wine and join us for dinner. It turned out great, but apparently cooking larger amounts takes far longer. Duh! So glad no one else had plans that particular Friday night.

                      My favorite way to do risotto is to get everything all chopped, measured and lined up ahead of time. My husband and I then open a bottle of wine and I prop myself on a stool in front of the stove and we drink, talk and stir. We switch off every few minutes so no one is standing there the entire time. It makes for a very relaxing, satisfying experience. Just try that risotto!!! You are likely to be very pleased. Good luck!