Pasta is often considered the center of an Italian menu. But in Northern Italy, where the short grained Arborio rice is grown, the rice becomes the star and is made into wonderful risottos. Arborio rice becomes creamy as it releases its particularly high starch content as the broth is slowly stirred into the rice. It seems to me to be a wonderful expression of the Italian preference for high quality, slow food as compared to low quality, fast food. (See the movie, The Big Night, for an entertaining depiction of the cultural clash between American and Italian ways of eating.)
Risotto is a very versatile dish, taking on the flavors of the type of broth and other ingredients added. Though there are wonderful risotto recipes that include various vegetables, meats, and seafood, the one given here is simpler and may be used along with a meat dish to create a lovely meal. Traditionally in the Italian cuisine, it is often a first course or "primi", which is how it is used in the menu you can find on my website.
Have you tried this? Do you have a favorite variation? Leave a comment - let others know what you think.
1. Put broth in a saucepan and bring to simmer.
2. Dice the onion
3. Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a second pot and heat to moderate temperature. Add chopped onion to heated butter. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes until softened, but not browned.
4. Measure rice and and add to onions. Using the wooden spoon, stir for 1 minute, making sure all the grains are well-coated.
5. Begin to add the simmering broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next ½ cup, reserving about ¼ cup to add at the end. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
6. After approximately 18 minutes, when the rice is tender but still firm, add the reserve broth, cream, and peas and stir well.
7. Turn off the heat and immediately add the rest (1 Tablespoon) of butter and Parmesan and stir vigorously to combine with the rice.
8. Serve immediately.
#stonesoupblog, #italian cuisine, #risotto
Tricia Gregory, MA,RD/N
A dietitian who is a foodie and loves a great dinner party with wonderful food and terrific friends.