Risotto (my method with a little help from Cooks Illustrated)
2 T. butter plus 2 T. olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
2 clove garlic, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
3 c. water plus 3 c. chicken broth, heated but not boiling
2 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine (i mostly use Sauv. Blanc, but have used Pinot Grigio also)
1 c. asiago cheese (or half parmesan too) freshly grated
Heat butter and oil in dutch oven. When butter foam subsides, add shallot and cook for 3-5 minutes or until opaque. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds until very fragrant. Add pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add rice, stir and cook until edges are clear, 4 minutes. Add wine, stir and cook until evaporated. Add 3 c. of the liquid, stir to combine and allow to simmer, stirring only to prevent rice from sticking to the pan bottom, usually once every 3-5 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add remaining liquid, about 1/2-1 c. per time, stir to combine and allow to simmer, stirring only to keep rice from sticking. This whole process should take anywhere from 25-35 minutes. The rice, when finished should be tender, but still a bit chewy and there should be a fair amount of creamy sauce surrounding it. Stir in half of the cheese and garnish your bowl with the rest. Add some cracked black pepper to taste. Try not to gobble.
Risotto is one of those dishes that tastes pretty good even if it isn’t perfect. The first time I made it, it came out like paste. Although the flavor was OK, the texture was something else! Very gluey and way overcooked. Keep on making it though, no recipe is fool proof the first time, especially this one. Add other veggies when you get better at it and can judge how they would best fit in; mushrooms work really well in risotto, and I have used cauliflower and carrot too. The addition of saffron will make traditional Risotto alla Milanese. I like the red pepper in it because it gives it a really beautiful color. Experiment. Sample. Taste and enjoy.