Arborio rice, high-quality Parmesan, and wine are the keys to this creamy, cheesy, and warm northern Italian dish.

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Ingredients

Simple Risotto
Risotto Four Ways

Directions

Simple Risotto
  • In a small saucepan, combine broth with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and keep at a bare simmer.

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  • In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Add 2 cups hot broth; simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until mostly absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, 20 to 25 minutes total (you may not need all the broth).

  • Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan and remaining 2 tablespoons butter; season with salt and pepper.

Risotto Four Ways
  • MILANESE: In step 1, add saffron to broth mixture. In step 3, after adding last cup of broth to risotto, stir in peas.

  • TOMATO: In step 1, replace broth mixture with tomato juice and 2 cups water.

  • MUSHROOM: At the beginning of step 3, in a separate skillet, cook mushrooms with butter over medium-high until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Proceed with step 3, and after adding last cup of broth to risotto, stir in cooked mushrooms.

  • SEAFOOD: In step 1, replace broth with clam juice and 2 cups water. At the end of step 3, a few minutes before risotto is done, stir in scallops and shrimp. In step 4, omit the Parmesan.

Cook's Notes

Contrary to popular belief, an occasional stir with a flat-end wooden spoon, rather than constant stirring, yields perfect results. Serve risotto as a main or side dish, and try the variations we've provided.

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