I have to take control and not let it take over my meal planning. Well, it’s not like I really plan my meals – it’s more like I open the cabinet and fridge and hope for inspiration.
With a very hectic schedule, my days are quite busy and most often I’m too tired to cook a complicated meal. Hence my easy peasey recipes, and risotto takes the top spot quite often.
Risotto may seem to be time consuming but it can be made in about 25 minutes and if you are good at multitasking you can prep other elements for your meal while you tend the risotto. Not a bad deal.
The recipe/method I use is for making risotto is from Lidia Bastianich. I make risotto very often and this is a foolproof recipe. I make it whenever I don’t feel like cooking a big meal and it never fails.
I follow the cooking method but I use my favorite ingredients of the day for my risotto dish. Today it was shrimp. In the summer I often use grilled vegetables.
- 4½ cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced (about ¾ cup)
- Roasted garlic (1 to 3 cloves according to taste)
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ lb. sauted shrimp
- 3 leaves fresh basil chopped
- 3 TBLS. fresh chopped parsley
- Pour the stock into a 2-quart saucepan and keep it hot over low heat. (The liquid must be hot in order for the starch in the risotto to be released which is what creates a creamy sauce.)
- Heat the olive oil in a wide 11 or 12 inch saute pan over medium heat then add in the onion, stirring occasionally until it is softened and translucent and just lightly golden and then stir in the roasted garlic. Add in the shrimp and cook until they turn pink, approx. 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.
- Stir in the rice and continue stirring until the grains are coated with oil and “toasted” – the edges become translucent – 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and let it gently boil while stirring the rice and cook until wine is evaporated - this takes a few minutes.
- Season the rice lightly and ladle enough of the hot stock into the pan to barely cover the rice, usually 1½ ladels full. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the stock is at a lively simmer. Cook, stirring constantly until all the liquid has been absorbed and you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir.
- Adjust the level of heat throughout cooking so the rice is simmering very gently.
- Continue and repeat until the rice is creamy and is tender, al dente. This total cooking time should be approximately 16 to 20 minutes.
- Taste the rice after the stock is absorbed to determine if the rice is al dente after about 15 minutes of cooking time.
- When in doubt, undercook – risotto continues to cook, even after it is removed from the heat.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Add the shrimp and the parsley and basil.
- Taste and season as needed.
I did not use cheese in this dish since I added shrimp. This is a personal preference though there are many ‘Italian’ chefs who do not recommend using cheese on seafood dishes.
For a side I made steamed green beans to which I added some of the sauted onion and drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper. A light vegetable doesn’t compete with the risotto. As an alternative you can serve a mixed green salad on the side.