This recipe whizzes past many of the the traditional rules of risotto-making, but you’ll get creamy, uncompromising risotto all the same. Firstly, though for years, Judy Rodgers had added just-simmering stock to her risotto, as tradition would dictate, “Then, after I casually made a fine risotto using room temperature stock, I started experimenting with cold, warm, and hot stock and found I could make a creamy risotto with any one.” This means from now on, in perpetuity, you can grab any stock out of your fridge or pantry and get your risotto going right away, without waiting for a pot to simmer, saving yourself burner space and a pan to wash. Your dinner can be truly one-pot, without any compromise. “This convenient heresy alarms even longtime cooks at Zuni,” she continued, “but it has not failed me.” Rodgers also wasn’t concerned about how frequently you add more stock, or how much it absorbs along the way, as long as the grains don’t completely dry out. “It is only the final doses that require thoughtful judgment, to make sure you don’t add more stock than an al dente grain needs.” Recipe adapted very slightly from The Zuni Café Cookbook (W. W. Norton & Company, 2002). —Genius Recipes
4 to 6
1 to 2 medium grapefruit, to yield 3/4 cup sections (about 16 small sections) plus juice
1 lime, to yield a scant 1/4 cup sections (about 8 sections)
Slice both ends off the grapefruit and lime, cutting just deeply enough to expose the juicy flesh. Setting the citrus on a cut end, use a paring knife to carve away the skin and white pith in a series of smooth, curved strokes from top to bottom, rotating the citrus a little with each stroke. If you don't get all the pith on the first go-round, go back and trim any you missed. Working over a bowl to catch juices, cradle the citrus in one hand, slide the blade of the knife close to the membranes on either side of each segment and gently pry out the sections. Tease out any seeds you encounter as you go, and don't worry if some of the sections break. Squeeze the remaining juice from the grapefruit "carcasses" into the bowl.
Warm the butter in a 4-quart saucepan or another medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a few pinches of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are tender and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are warm and coated with fat. Add about 2 cups of the stock, adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, then stir as needed until it has been mostly absorbed. Add another cup of stock and repeat. The risotto should look like a shiny porridge of pearls. Taste: The rice will still be hard and a little raw tasting. Correct the satiny liquid for salt. Add another 1/2 cup or so of stock and stir as needed until just absorbed. Taste again, checking flavor and doneness.
Break the citrus sections into irregular pieces as you add them, and the grapefruit juice, to the risotto. Continue to cook as described above. Taste again. If the rice is still quite firm, add more stock about a tablespoon at a time and cook until it is al dente, with a little firmness still in the center. If your grapefruit was very juicy, you may use little of the remaining stock. Turn off the heat and, with a little vigor, stir in the mascarpone. The citrus will be reduced to pretty flecks in the creamy rice. Serve promptly.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.