My secret to nailing the perfect risotto is allowing the rice time to toast in the pan prior to adding liquid. Once it becomes opaque after three or four minutes, that is the time to hit the pan with some dry white wine. Patience is key when adding stock. It must be added one ladleful at a time to create the creamy yet al dente mouth feel I love so much about risotto (continue reading about this dish here).
Serves 4 people
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
8 cups chicken stock, heated until hot
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until almost smoking. Add the onion and squash and cook until the onion is softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the wine, then add a 4- to 6-ounce ladleful of the stock and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding the stock a ladleful a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed each time before adding more, until the rice is tender and creamy yet still a little al dente, about 18 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and Parmigiano, and stir vigorously until well mixed, about 25 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the risotto among four warmed plates, and serve with additional Parmigiano.
Recipe courtesy of Molto Italiano (Ecco 2005)