Everyday Risotto


This recipe originally came to me from an old Elizabeth George cookbook of my grandmother’s. In the 1950’s Elizabeth George helped to introduce the English to Italian cooking, and although out of fashion, I find her style wonderfully chatty and honest.

I did not have risotto until I went to Italy in 1990. When I came back raving about it, I searched through my various cookbooks and found the Elizabeth George. It is a basic workaday risotto, and will always be my favourite because of its simplicity.

You’ll need:

1 cup Arborio rice

1 onion, chopped fine

3 – 4 cups chicken stock, heated

1Tbs olive oil

several pats of butter

freshly grated Parmesan

2 saffron strands

about 1/3 glass of white wine

  1. Saute onion in olive oil  and 1 Tbs butter until soft
  2. Add rice and continue to sauté until the colour changes and the butter and oil are absorbed.
  3. Add wine. Stir until completely absorbed.
  4. Add stock, one ladle-full at a time, stirring until each is absorbed. This will take time, so be patient and drink wine while you stir.
  5. As you are cooking the rice, put the strands of saffron in a small cup, and pour on a small ladle of stock. Let the saffron sit in the stock for at least 5 minutes. Squeeze the strands to get out all of the colour and flavor and discard.
  6. The rice is done when will not absorb any more stock, and is no longer crunchy. There is a personal taste here – some people prefer their risotto more mushy than others. You will need to experiment to arrive at your own level of perfection.
  7. Add the saffron and stir in. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of butter, Parmesan cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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