Basic Risotto Recipe! 20 Minutes And Knowing How to Stir! That's All It Takes!
It Really Is Just Rice! But Creamy And Comforting Like Pasta!
Risotto sounds scary to so many home cooks! This quick, easy, budget friendly recipe will change your mind about risotto and reassure you that it is really just rice. 2 year olds are known to be picky eaters, but this recipe is so good that my grandson will go into the pantry, grab the container of arborio rice and bring it to his mom. He will gobble this up in minutes! While my adult son doesn't even know what the arborio container looks like, he will smile if he knows this is a side dish with dinner. This is a family pleaser!
Think of the recipe below as a basic risotto recipe upon which you can build. After you try this, you can add shredded chicken, broccoli, sweet corn, carrots or any number of ingredients. Tailoring recipes to your needs is what cooking is all about. Cooking is never rigid! It is your imagination that will make this special and your own. It will also put your fears to rest. Risotto is easy!
Flavor to Savor Without Being Fancy!
- 1 cup of arborio rice (available in bulk bins)
- 6 cups (1 1/2 boxes) of chicken broth (I use low sodium)
- 4 green onions or 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 8 ounces of chopped button or white mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- salt to taste, depends on whether your chicken broth has salt added. If it doesn't, start with 1/2 teaspoon, then check again when the risotto is finished.
- 3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons of butter
You will need a large skillet or a deep frying pan and a pot that will hold a quart and a half of chicken broth. Pour the chicken broth into a pot and heat it. It should not boil, but as you add it to the risotto, you will want it to be hot. Put the olive oil into the frying pan and heat the oil.
Add the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt (if you are using low-sodium broth) to the olive oil and sauté on a medium heat. When the garlic and onions are tender, add the mushrooms and continue to sauté. When the mushrooms are tender, sprinkle the cup of arborio rice into the mixture. Stir the rice, making sure that it is coated with the liquid in the pan. When the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is slightly toasted, it is time to set your kitchen timer to 18 minutes. This is simply the amount of time it takes for the rice to become tender. I know anything over 18 minutes is just extra time and okay. 18 and you will know that the risotto is tender.
Add one or two ladles full of the hot chicken broth to the rice mixture. Make sure the rice is covered. Stir together. This process will need to be done over a medium low to medium heat. You will want it hot enough so that the mixture is always just simmering. When the broth has almost all absorbed, add more chicken broth. Stir and repeat until all of your chicken broth has been used, usually about 20 minutes. Most likely, your timer will have already alerted you that the arborio is tender.
Stirring occasionally through the cooking process more often than just when adding the broth will ensure that your risotto cooks and absorbs the broth evenly. I have timed this process with my own stove. If you use this guideline, your risotto will turn out creamy and full of flavor. With my stove, it generally takes about 2 - 3 minutes to absorb between each addition of hot broth. Your final addition of broth should not be absorbed completely. You want the consistency to be creamy, almost like a thick gravy. Add the butter at the very end, and stir it in, just for some extra richness. This will serve about 4 as a side dish.
Why No Cheese or Wine?
Most risotto recipes call for some wine and some Parmesan cheese. This one is missing those ingredients because they simply are not necessary. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have cooked with wine. I am just not fond of the taste, so I don't add it to anything. As for Parmesan cheese, I use it a lot, just not with this. This risotto doesn't need to be over-powered with a cheese flavor. The addition of wine and cheese is what scares most people, I think. It just isn't necessary.
If you are going to add additional ingredients, do so at the beginning, after the onions and mushrooms have been sauteed. The addition of cooked, shredded chicken makes this side dish into a great main dish for kids. Adding just a touch of chopped up broccoli along with the chicken will make a nutrient-packed lunch for anyone. If you have a picky 2 year old, this comes with the grandma guarantee. They will eat this and you will know that they are getting food with great nutrition value, especially if you add some chicken and broccoli, or even some baby spinach!
If I still haven't convinced you, try making the above recipe with simple long grain white rice first. It will work the same way and certainly step up your normal rice side dish.