Risotto is a popular dish from Northern Italy cooked slow with warm broth until it becomes rich and creamy. The type of broth you use is by choice. Meat, vegetable and fish broth all work well, and one may compliment the final recipe more than another. I use chicken broth or stock the most as I think it has such a greater depth of flavor, and tends to create a super Creamy Parmesan Risotto.
This is my “no-fail” recipe. After having made it many times (with a number of failures), it always comes out super rich and creamy, with just enough bite to the rice. Make extra to try out my recipe for arancini the next day. There are so many different types of risotto recipes. As long as you get this base recipe perfected, you can take the risotto into any direction you desire for the final preparation.
Unlike most traditionally recipes, I do not use wine, or onions. My soffritto consists of butter, olive oil and garlic. Quite often, I leave out the garlic in the initial phase and will add it at the end after roasting or toasting.
TIPS TO MAKING CREAMY PARMESAN RISOTTO
Making the perfect risotto is a commitment. The pot needs almost constant attention as you are incorporating the broth gradually, in small amounts, as it is being absorbed. Don’t fret if it takes a few tries. You are looking for a creamy consistency where the grains are still separate.
Although I try to provide you with exact measurements in terms of how much broth to use, this will vary each and every time you prepare. This will also depend on how much you are going to prepare. Have at least 8 cups of broth at the ready.
Let’s talk rice. The creaminess of the risotto comes from using a short to medium grain rice, with a high starch content. Arborio rice is most readily available in grocery stores. I use this often. However, I was just introduced to Carnaroli Rice a few weeks ago at my favorite Italian store, Delallo’s. The box states that it is the superior rice for risotto. That was no lie. I think arborio rice is going to have to take a back seat for now.
Heat the broth or stock to boiling in a sauce pan. In a separate pot or pan, begin toasting the rice (just a few minutes) by combining it with two tablespoons of butter, the olive oil, and pinch of salt. Do not skip this part, as it is a crucial part of the recipe. Toasting the rice opens it up and allows for better absorption of the stock. If you are adding onions, garlic, or wine add them at this phase.
Add in enough of the warmed broth or stock to just cover the rice. Keep the temperature on a simmer (do not boil).
The rice will start absorbing the liquid, stir often. Continue to add the heated broth or stock in small amounts as it is absorbed. As the rice absorbs the liquid, you will notice how creamy it becomes. Keep testing the rice for texture. Once it reaches al dente, there is no need to add additional broth.
Remove from heat. I like to add a touch of cream to mine at the end just for the flavor. Feel free to leave it out as the more traditional recipes do. Stir in the remaining butter and a few handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (do not skimp on quality of the cheese). Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, or not. Completely up to you!
Please note that a huge part of this recipe is about technique, and not necessarily the amounts of this or that. Trust your judgment on taste and texture. Use one cup of risotto, or the entire box. Totally up to you. Just have enough broth or stock on hand. Always keeping in mind to incorporate in small amounts. Have stock left over? Save for another recipe.
Serve immediately as the grains tend to continue to cook. Creamy Parmesan Risotto can be a first course, main course, or can also serve as an accompaniment to Osso Buco, Braised Short Ribs, Braciole, or along side a gorgeous Filet and Broiled Lobster Tail. The possibilities are endless.