I have a secret: risotto doesn't have to involve standing over a pot, stirring for 30 minutes. There is a better way.
I've made risotto using the "stir 5ever" method and frankly this one is half the work and just as good. I took inspiration from Kenji Lopez-Alt, who describes how you can make risotto with only a few minutes of stirring at the end! Yes, this is a secret too good to keep to myself.
The linked recipe is too rich for a weeknight dinner, at least for my tastes, so I've included my typical modifications below, which omits the heavy cream. I usually make mushroom risotto, because all the ingredients are long-lived pantry ingredients, which means I can make this on a whim without having to grocery shop!
👀 pic.twitter.com/9gD4OGLZDs— e. hashman (@ehashdn) December 17, 2020
Serves 3 as a main course. Active time: 25m. Total time: 45m.
- 1oz (28g) dried mushrooms, such as porcini (or morels!)
- 3 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 ½ cups short-grained rice (I use arborio)
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, small diced
- 3oz (85g) grated Parmesan cheese
- herbs for garnish (optional)
- Leave mushrooms to rehydrate in 1 cup of hot water for at least 10 minutes.
- Set a wide saucepan (about 3.5qts) or skillet on medium heat.
- Mix stock and wine for a total of 4 cups. You can used homemade stock (the best), boxed, or reconstitute from bouillon (my usual). If you use bouillon, I find you get the best flavour if you use a mix, so I tend to use half "no-chicken" and half "organic chicken" of the Better than Bouillon brand. Let this cool if you used boiling water; you don't want it to be too hot.
- Mix the rice and stock in a large bowl, agitating it to release the starch. Reserve stock and set the rice in a strainer to drain.
- Small dice an onion. Add olive oil and butter to the pan, and then add the onion. Cook the onion until it's translucent, but don't brown it.
- Increase the heat to high and add the rice to the pan to toast until it becomes a little bit brown, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Set a timer so it doesn't burn 😀
- Meanwhile, drain the mushrooms, making sure you reserve the broth. Chop mushrooms and mince the garlic. Once the rice is toasted, add mushrooms and garlic and stir.
- Stir the reserved stock. Add all of the mushroom liquid and all but 1 cup of the starchy stock to the pan. Bring to a boil.
- Once it has reached a boil, cover, reduce to the lowest heat, and allow the rice to simmer undisturbed for 10 minutes. In the meantime, you can grate the cheese.
- After 10 minutes, stir the rice once, shake the pan to ensure it is level, and return to the heat for 10 more minutes. Sit back, relax, and bask in the very little stirring you are doing.
- At this point, the rice should be nearly cooked. Give it a stir, and add the remaining cup of broth. Stir until fully incorporated, turn the heat up to high, and cook until the risotto reaches your preferred consistency. I like mine rather thick.
- Once the rice is fully cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the grated cheese a bit at a time, reserving some for garnish. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with the grated cheese, and perhaps some herbs. Serve and enjoy!
No mushrooms: Okay, okay, you hate mushrooms! Sorry! You can leave them out. Don't bother with the mushrooms, and add broth to make up for the lost liquid.
Mushroom lover: Alternatively, if you love mushrooms and you have fresh ones available, use ⅓ to ½ a pound (150-225g) chopped fresh mushrooms instead of dried. Add them at the same time you add the onions to ensure all the liquid cooks off.
Milanese, with stuff: One of my favourite variations on this dish is a version with shrimp, asparagus, and saffron. Leave the mushrooms out, increase the wine to ¾ or even 1 cup (seafood likes a little extra acidity), ensure you have a total of 5 cups of broth, and add a few strands of saffron. Chop asparagus and shrimp, season with salt and pepper, sauté them with some butter or olive oil in a separate pan so they don't overcook, and fold them in at the very end, after you've added the cheese.
I MUST SUFFER: This was too easy? Want to stir more??? Fine, have it your $*!#ing way.
I'm sure you can be creative and come up with something on your own...