Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.
Today: The 5 steps to making any risotto, using whatever odds and ends you've got.
Risotto seems so fancy, doesn't it? It's something you bookmark in a magazine or cookbook and save to make someday, when you'll take a special trip to the grocery store, for that dinner party you've been meaning to host.
But the truth is: you can (and should!) make risotto anytime, and you don't even really need to measure anything. All you need is short grain rice, liquid, and about 40 minutes. What's in the fridge -- bacon or mushrooms or peas? They'll be good in here too.
How to Make Any Risotto in 5 Steps
1. Get stock warming on the stove.
2. In another wide pot, sauté onion (or garlic or shallots) in olive oil (or butter).
3. Add short grain rice, like carnaroli or arborio (remember: it will roughly double in size). Toast till the rice is just warm, and it looks "impregnated" with the fat (as Elizabeth David says). Optional: Splash in a few glugs of wine (or sherry or vermouth or beer).
4. Add ladles of stock, stir sometimes, watch it bubble down, add more -- you'll want to keep it generously saucy as you go, not dry. Running low on stock? Add water to the stock pot. Watch the rice swell up, release starch, and get creamy.
5. Taste the rice as you go; let it plump without going mushy. Leave it saucy. Beat in a pat or two of cold butter, and parmesan if you like. Serve right away. Whatever you don't eat, save to make arancini!
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Photos by James Ransom