Risotto is one of those dishes that–while not hard to make–requires the full attention of the cook. Almost all risottos start out the same way and the technique of adding a bit of liquid every few minutes during the cooking period is the traditional method. Here is how I like to make risotto in the Fall when squash and radicchio are in abundance.
Ingredients (serves 6-8):
-2 cups best quality Carnaroli rice from Italy (it’s important that it’s “Carnaroli”)
-Extra virgin olive oil
-1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
-1 bunch of green radicchio (with the long leaves)
-1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (or 2 shallots)
-8-10 cups vegetable stock (see below for preparation)
-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
-1 cup of dry white wine
In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Add the onions or shallots to the pot. Salt the onions and lower the heat and sweat them for 1 minute (add more oil if they start to brown). Add the butternut squash and cook until soft (8-10 minutes). Add the rice to the pot and stir through for 20-30 seconds. Add the wine and turn up the heat to medium high.
Stir the risotto occasionally, every 20-30 seconds, never taking your eyes from it completely. Once the white wine has mostly evaporated begin adding–one ladle at a time–the vegetable broth (see below instructions for creating your vegetable stock). Keep the risotto moist and just covered with liquid. Continue stirring and ladling until the risotto is cooked through and al dente, approximately 20-25 minutes.
Add the butter and stir through. Season the rice with salt, stir and taste. Adjust accordingly, knowing the the cheese has its own salinity. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and stir through. Taste again. Serve immediately. Buon apetito!
In a large sauce pan add a couple of carrots (chopped in half), an onion (chopped in half) 2 celery stalks (chopped in half), 1 whole garlic clove. Fill with cold water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 90 minutes until you have a nice stock.