That reputation put me off for a long time. I imagine others think the same way as I do. Occasionally I concede that I don't have the time or patience to make certain foods at home and resort to eating those things at restaurants. But now, risotto is not one of those things. You can make it at home just fine. Maybe your favorite risotto is a different flavor, but follow the techniques here and get used to them. You'll be whipping up other flavors in no time.
about 5 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated real Parmesan cheese (optional, forget it if you want to go Vegan)
1. Put the stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
2. Heat the olive oil in a separate large pan or skillet. Add the onion and cook slowly until it softens. Add the garlic and cook until all of it is soft, but not brown. Aim for translucent and tender.
3. Stir in the rice and cook a minute or two longer. Add the lemon zest.
4. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the wine has been absorbed completely.
5. Add the stock, one ladel-full at a time, stirring slowly until it has been absorbed.
6. Repeat adding the stock and stirring until the stock has been used and the rice is al dente tender. By the time you use all the stock, it will take a bit longer to absorb that in the beginning. This is normal
For high-altitude cooks, this will take about 20-25 minutes. If your rice isn't getting very tender, cover it and let it steam about 5 minutes over very low heat. If you've run out of stock, add a splash of hot water.
If you're a low-altitude chef, your risotto should only take 15-20 minutes. And you probably won't have any trouble with it getting to the right tenderness. Lucky you! (wink wink)
7. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve it up with a bunch of grated real Parmegiano cheese. For an extra kick of lemon, serve with a lemon wedge for squeezing.
If you're going Vegan, leave off the Parm. You could use a nut- or soy-based cheese substitute, or just add crunchy fried garlic on top for variety.