Risotto is a traditional, creamy Italian rice dish. The way the rice is prepared causes it to release starch that binds the grains together as a cream. To make risotto at home, you will need a high-starch, round, medium grain rice such as Arborio, and broth of any variety (chicken stock is the most widely used). For every 1 cup of rice, you will need 2 1/2 cups broth, 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and 1/2 cup wine. White wine is traditionally used, but red is acceptable if you are using ingredients with strong flavors. There are a wide variety of risotto recipes, but each of them uses the same standard cooking procedure.
To begin, bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once it is simmering, reduce the heat to low but keep the broth warm. Additions such as asparagus, broccoli, clams and winter squash can be added to the broth at this point to simmer.
Meanwhile, melt a mixture of butter and olive oil in a straight-sided, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan first and wait until you can smell it before adding the oil. Then, add minced aromatics such as onion, celery, chicken or carrots, and sauté.
Add the rice to the sauté pan and stir it around until each grain is coated and the edges become translucent. This step should take 2 to 3 minutes. Next, pour in some white wine and stir until it has been absorbed by the rice.
At this point, ladle in one cup of broth, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed; it is important to add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time and to stir more frequently once the initial cup has been absorbed. Keep in mind that you do not need to use all of the broth if the risotto appears to be done without it. The risotto should be plump and tender with no chalky center when it has finished cooking. Let it sit for five minutes after removing it from the stove to allow it to absorb more liquid and to “fluff up,” or soufflé. Add herbs and parmesan cheese before serving.
The entire dish should take about 25 to 30 minutes to make, and it is important that you tend to it the entire time. Frequent stirring will result in the creamiest risotto possible. Eat immediately for the best taste and texture.

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