Creamy Dreamy Risotto

I have attempted to make risotto quite a few times now….

The first attempt, Easy Risotto, I cheated and made a quick, fool-proof version on the stove-top, that actually ended up being pretty good!
The second attempt, I decided to follow the recipe for rice-cooker risotto on the back of the Arborio Rice packet, and it was not so good- it ended up tasting like plain white rice (which was a waste of the expensive Arborio kind!) Then my third attempt was the Hell’s Kitchen kind: where I slaved over the skillet for an hour stirring and pouring until my arms ached and my face turned beetroot, and then after all that work, I was too tired to eat it! It’s a good job too, since it ended up being a little on the crunchy side anyway!
But all these failed attempts just made me more and more determined to get it right!

Then today Damon and Jessica (my brother in law and his fiance) were around my house at lunch time, and I decided I was going to be brave and attempt to make them some! I have never made a good risotto before in my life, but I have learnt a lot from past mistakes, that I wasn’t going to repeat. Plus, I had the Pioneer Woman to guide me through it as I went, and I also had a little help from my amazing sous-chef, Jessica! ;-) P.S. I would recommend looking at the Pioneer Woman’s tutorial if you’ve never made a risotto before. It’s excellent!

Here is an easy, condensed version of the recipe, that I adapted a little. I LOVE it! It’s a little work, but it’s SO worth it, trust me!

Ingredients (this makes a LOT! Probably enough for 6, so halve this recipe if you want less!)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic
1 lb Arborio Rice
4 (14.5oz) cans chicken broth/8 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
2 1/2 cups unprocessed Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese)
Salt & Pepper to taste & chives for garnish

Directions & Tips!
In a large pan/dutch-oven/skillet (something with tall sides that’s pretty wide), melt your butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Then add your onion and garlic and stir for a couple of minutes until fragrant, and softened. Add the arborio rice and coat with the butter, garlic and onion. Then add a cup of your chicken broth/stock. Stir (making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom). When the liquid has been absorbed, add another cup.

You’re going to repeat this process until you’re stock is all gone! Pour, stir, then when the liquid’s been absorbed- pour another cup, and stir some more! It helps to have a fun ‘sous-chef’ to chat with in the kitchen, (since you’ll be standing there for about 45 minutes!) and it’s nice to have an extra pair of hands towards the end when the rice gets thicker and heavier and harder to stir.

Quick Tip: Once your 4 cans/8 cups of stock is all gone, do a taste test. Is the rice still a little crunchy? If so, keep stirring it for a couple of minutes, then taste again. When you’re happy with it (it’s soft and thick and creamy) you’re going to continue on to the fun part…
 Add 1 cup cream and 2 1/2 cups of your parmesan cheese! (You want the best quality parmesan cheese you can get, because that’s pretty much where all your flavour’s coming from!) Then add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if it needs it. Garnish with fresh chopped chives!
 Then plate!  This was so delicious! Rich, thick and creamy, with a cheesy-salty flavour that was all balanced just right! I’m SO GLAD it worked out for our lunch guests, but even more- I’m just glad that I FINALLY made a good risotto! It was so worth all the failed attempts to find this recipe that I will definitely cook time and time again!

PS Quick funny story: We brought some over to my husband’s mum, Dad and little brother and when I asked my mother in law later on if they all liked it she said: “I don’t know, because I kept it all for myself!” She had tasted it, and decided it was too good to share…. and this is coming from a woman who cooks AMAZING and has high standards! I LOVED that she did that! PS I hope Dexter and Del aren’t reading this, because they missed out!

PPS. Now i’m excited to try all kinds of risottos… i’m thinking a wild-mushroom one next?!