Risotto is one of those rich side or main course dishes found usually at special occasion Italian restaurants, but likely not on your menu at home. Am I right? Before working in fine restaurants and graduating from culinary school, I made the incorrect assumption risotto was simply unattainable for the novice, only for the expert chefs or Italian grandmothers. In case you notice the ready-made “instant” packages of risotto at the grocery story, don’t even give it a second thought. The difference in taste is utterly remarkable. You will never turn back after taking one bite of well-executed risotto from scratch.
What I like about this recipe is that it fits both personality types – those that love having everything mapped out ahead, and those that love last-minute inspiration. The recipe for risotto actually reads more like a ratio. Follow the instructions and then see what flavors can be thoughtfully added for a new spin. Consider seasonal vegetables, seafood, fresh herbs, cheeses, cured meat accents, or whatever your mind can conceive. All in moderation though; a heavy hand of flavor doesn’t always work. The main thing is to have fun, explore your refrigerator and throw in what looks fresh and pairs well together.
Risotto is like a story….learning the basics of how to make it is like learning how to identify and share the story God is writing in our lives. Watch the power of His authentic flavors slowly stirring in us and then encourage others around us. And in that process, we listen and taste how God is writing His story in the people around us. I suggested to my dear friend Ginna that she consider sharing her story about her daughter Grace. She wrote it and now it’s in the collection, titled “God, Why Won’t You Heal?”. I know myself as well as many others are inspired by her vulnerability. God’s Word in us makes us not want to turn back to ourselves, but to turn into community, that we might taste more of Him together.
2 “Hear my words, you wise men;
listen to me, you men of learning.
3 For the ear tests words
as the tongue tastes food.
4 Let us discern for ourselves what is right;
let us learn together what is good.
– Job 34:2-4
Basic Risotto Ratio: 4 to 1 (That’s 4 cups of stock or broth to 1 cup of arborio rice)
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (other broths or stocks can be substituted)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small or medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional)
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan (about 3 ounces) plus more for shaving over top
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
Handful of Italian flat leaf parsley, cleaned with stems removed and chopped (optional)