A few kitchen basics yield a classic Italian one-pot wonder.
Slowly adding broth while stirring constantly is what gives risotto its signature texture. Master these steps, then customize the basic version with add-ins (below).
• 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 large shallot, diced small
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
• 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (1/4 ounce)
1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a simmer; reduce heat and keep warm. In a 10-inch heavy-bottomed skillet or pot, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high. Add shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until rice is translucent at edges, about 1 minute.
2. Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes. With a ladle, add about 1 cup broth to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Repeat, gradually adding broth by the cupful and stirring constantly, until rice is tender but still al dente and sauce is creamy (you may not need all of broth), about 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons butter and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Great idea: You can add 6 ounces cooked, chopped bacon or ham to any risotto in step 3.
Nutritional information per serving: 272 calories, 13 grams fat (9 grams saturated fat), 24 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein, 0 grams fiber, 43 percent of calories from fat.
Mushroom risotto with spring herbs
Follow recipe instructions for basic risotto. In step 1, cook 1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered, along with shallot. In step 3, stir in 3 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, marjoram and chives, along with butter and Parmesan.
Nutritional information per serving: 273 calories, 12 grams fat (8 grams saturated fat), 26 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein, 1 gram fiber, 40 percent of calories from fat.
Follow recipe instructions for basic risotto. In step 2, when rice is al dente and sauce is creamy, add 1/2 cup carrot juice and stir until absorbed, about 4 minutes. In step 3, stir in 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice along with butter and Parmesan.
Nutritional information per serving: 267 calories, 12 grams fat (8 grams saturated fat), 26 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 0 grams fiber, 40 percent of calories from fat.