There's nothing more satisfying to me than making exactly one portion of Parmesan risotto just for myself. For something as rich as risotto, anyway, I never want to eat it more than once at a time, not to mention it makes for terrible leftovers. The best risotto is eaten straight out of the pan, its creamy, comforting texture at its peak—especially if you've cooked it right, what the Italians call all'onda (which means it's loose and ripples like a wave). This version is a more grownup take on the broccoli-cheese-rice casseroles I grew up adoring, but with salty-nutty Parmesan and bitter-as-can-be broccoli rabe swapped out for the Velveeta and frozen broccoli from a bag. Because there are days, after one too many late-night fried chicken sandwiches and French fries, when what my body really craves is bitterness (i.e., vegetables). —Eric Kim
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, then toss in the broccoli rabe for a brief 2 minutes. Remove immediately and run under the cold tap. Wrap in paper towel and wring out as much of the water as possible. Place in food processor along with the parsley and cream. Blitz until very smooth.
Pour the stock into a small pot. This next step is optional: For creamier risotto, place the rice in a sieve and rinse in the stock (you may have to tilt the pot to submerge rice in stock). Bring the now cloudier, starchier stock to a gentle simmer and keep over a low flame.
In a medium braiser or any wide-bottomed, high-sided pan (I just use the large pot from the broccoli rabe earlier), melt butter and sauté shallot for a couple minutes, or until translucent. Stir in the drained rice, coating each grain until butter-slicked. Splash in the wine and reduce, stirring constantly.
Once the alcohol has evaporated, lower the heat and slowly ladle in the hot stock (one or two ladlefuls at a time), stirring until fully absorbed by the rice between each addition. Keep stirring until the rice is perfectly al dente (to the tooth), about 18 to 20 minutes.
When cooked to your liking (I like my rice with a slight bite in the middle), stir in the broccoli rabe puree and grated Parmesan, which should loosen the risotto up a bit. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, garnish with whole parsley leaves and Parmesan shavings.
Eric Kim is the Table for One columnist at Food52. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he is currently working on his first cookbook, to be published by Clarkson Potter in Spring 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at Saveur, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times and follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho. Born and raised in Georgia, Eric lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson.