at home requires a particular cooking technique that is
found primarily in northern Italy and used for all risotto
dishes you may want to make. Although the flavoring additions
are endless, you need to start with the same basics every
The two main ingredients consist
of the rice and broth.
You should use an Italian variety of rice that is specifically
grown in Italy, such as Arborio, Vialone Nano, or Cararoli.
Arborio can now be found in most American grocery stores,
but certainly can be found at an Italian specialty store.
The broth should be homemade; to ensure the most flavor,
but if time or circumstances make having homemade broth
impossible, use the best canned broth you can find. Chicken,
vegetable, fish and meat broths are all used depending
on the other ingredients used in the dish.
The flavoring ingredients can be almost anything, including
vegetables, seafood, meats, and every combination in between.
This is the basic cooking technique one would use to create
simple Risotto Parmesan. To make other recipes, the flavoring
ingredients would be added at different intervals of the
cooking process depending on how long they require to
To start the risotto, you begin by sautéing chopped
onion in butter or combination of butter and olive oil
over medium heat until it is translucent. The rice is
then added to the pot and mixed well with the butter and
Next a splash of wine is usually added for flavor, and
once it has evaporated, a small addition of warm broth
is added. You continue in this manner, stirring constantly
and adding broth once the rice begins to absorb it. Continue
cooking and stirring, for about 20 minutes, or until the
rice is cooked but yet retains a bit of firmness to the
To complete the dish you remove it from the heat, and
add a little butter and some grated Parmesan. The risotto
should be very creamy, and will firm up as it cools. This
technique remains the same for each recipe, unless seafood
is added in which case you would eliminate the addition
Okay, you now know the technique, so its time to
give it a try.
Risotto with Shrimp
1 cup Arborio rice
450 gr (1 lb.) shrimp (fresh)
2 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (finely diced)
1/2 cup dry white wine 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbl. unsalted butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbl. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. saffron
Bring your chicken stock to a boiling
point and have ready at stoveside. In a large skillet
with a heavy bottom, heat oil over low heat and sauté
onions until translucent. Add rice, stir to coat with
oil and sauté with onions to toast each grain,
approx. 7 minutes. Once toasted, add white wine slowly,
stirring with a wooden spoon. ( I like to remove the
pot from the heat source before adding wine.) Add saffron.
Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add 1 cup chicken
stock, stirring occasionally.
Continue adding stock as the rice absorbs
the liquid and the pot becomes dry, until all the stock
This whole process should take about
20 minutes and the risotto will be a little chewy (to
your liking) and should have a creamy texture. With
2 - 3 minutes left - and please, this will depend on
you and your stove, so don't worry too much about timing
- add the shrimp and cook until done. Add the butter,
Parmesan and heavy cream.
Stir to combine ingredients and serve immediately. Enjoy!