You know when you meet someone and they seem perfectly put together and totally balanced? And they never seem to sweat? That’s how I used to look at risotto – with envy, and a little bit of intimidation.
I got over my jealousy (resentment?) last winter when I realized that risotto really just takes time. And this fall, as the weather cools down and football games drag out over entire Sundays, I’ve got plenty.
There are many risotto recipes using a number of add-ins like asparagus, various cheeses and mushrooms, but none of them matter if you don’t start with a good base – which you get from basic ingredients and a lot of patient stirring. I like my risotto with a cheesy center and an earthy, salty finish.
To find the ingredients I include in this recipe, I encourage you to visit the Italian Store (3123 Lee Highway). It’s a one-stop shop for the white truffle oil, prosciutto and parmesan cheese you’ll need for this recipe. Whole Foods on P Street, NW should have these as well.
2 to 3 ounces sliced prosciutto
3 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
6 cups chicken stock (you may want to have 1 or 2 extra cups on hand, just in case)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
White truffle oil
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add small slices of prosciutto and cook until it begins to turn dark in color and slightly crispy. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate, to maintain the crispness of the prosciutto.
Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add minced shallots and cook until soft.
In a separate pot, simmer 6 cups of chicken stock over medium heat.
In the pot with the butter and shallots, stir in 2 cups of Arborio rice. Stir until the rice is coated completely in the butter. Allow the rice to simmer until it starts to turn golden in color, but be careful not to let the rice stick to the pot.
Add the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, and simmer and stir continuously until absorbed. The rice should become creamy, but not stiff.
Once the last of the stock has been added and the risotto is at a consistency you like, stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, and any salt and pepper to taste. To serve, sprinkle with the white truffle oil and prosciutto.
You’re bound to have leftovers when making risotto. Not to worry – here are a few ways to make it taste even better the next day:
Risotto balls – Heat some peanut oil to 350 degrees. Take a few tablespoons of cold, leftover risotto in your hands and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, repeating with all of the risotto. Place the risotto balls into the oil and fry, turning onto each side, until they’re golden brown. Remove the balls and drain them on paper towels. Serve these with a side of marinara.
Risotto pancakes – Heat some butter in a pan. In a bowl, mix the leftover risotto with an egg, and take a few spoonfuls in your hand and shape into a patty. Fry the patties in the butter on both sides. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and serve.