Anyone who has watched Top Chef knows that there are two things that trip a chef up. The first is dessert, which I’ve never understood since baking is pretty simple if you pay attention to what you’re doing. The second is risotto. Watching chef after chef crash and burn trying to make risotto led me to the conclusion that risotto would be very, very difficult to make.
I was wrong. Well, half wrong. Risotto takes a lot of attention and would not be easy to make during a timed competition while making three other dishes. As such, I did not attempt to cook a meat product in addition but instead had broccoli a la microwave and raw red pepper strips on the side. But my final product was very tasty and I think Tom Colicchio would agree.
My recipe was almost word for word Mark Bittman’s recipe from his cookbook “How to Cook Everything” except I used slightly less onion and accidentally doubled the wine so I used less chicken stock. In the future, I would use either more mushrooms or more strongly flavored mushrooms since this amount (about 2 oz of shitake) was lost in the risotto.
- 3/4 medium onion, minced
- 2 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped loosely (I used Shitake mushrooms)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (I used home-made, but you could do store bought or Bittman offers the options of beef stock, vegetable stock, or water
- cutting board
- wooden spoon
- measuring cup
- saucepan (see pictures below for the size I used)
- Cut up onions and mushrooms.
- Melt your butter in your saucepan on medium high heat. Then once hot, add onions. Cook for one minute and then add mushrooms. Cook for approximately 3 minutes.
- Add the arborio rice and mix around so that it gets covered with butter.
- Add the cup of wine. Stir regularly until the wine has mostly bubbled away. It shouldn’t get dry but also shouldn’t be soupy anymore.
- Add the hot water. Stir until evaporated. You could use chicken stock in this instance, but in Bittman’s original recipe he was using dried mushrooms so this step was the “mushroom soaking” water step. In his fresh mushroom recipe, he just cautions that you’ll need to replace the mushroom soaking water step with more liquid of some sort.
- Add the chicken stock a half cup at a time, stirring until it has bubbled down and then adding the next cup. Bittman’s recipe calls for 3-5 cups. Since I used an extra half cup of wine, I used 2.5 cups of chicken stock. Use more if needed to reach step 7.
- About twenty minutes after the rice first went in the post, taste the risotto. It should be soft but still have a bit of a bite. You will reach this step somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes in (it took about 25 for me). Once the texture is right, remove from the heat and serve.
- Bon Appetit!