Risotto is a popular dish from Northern Italy. It is cooked slow with intermittent infusions of warm broth until it becomes rich and creamy. The type of broth you use is by choice. Chicken, vegetable and fish broth all work well, and one may compliment the final recipe more than another. Chicken broth or stock is what I use most often. In my opinion, chicken broth has a greater depth of flavor, and tends to create a super Creamy Parmesan Risotto.
Be sure to check out (see below) how I served up this fabulous risotto with seared scallops and how adding fresh asparagus elevates the flavor to create another fabulous version of 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. Do not 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 eight 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. However, I was just introduced to Carnaroli Rice a few weeks ago at my favorite Italian store, Delallo. The box states that it is the superior rice for risotto. That was no lie. In my opinion, I think arborio rice is going to have to take a back seat for now.
HOW TO PREPARE CREAMY PARMESAN RISOTTO
Heat the broth or stock to boiling in a sauce pan. Reduce heat to keep the broth warm. 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 low simmer (do not boil). The key to a perfect risotto is cooking it on a medium to medium-low heat.
The rice will start absorbing the liquid, stir often. Continue to add the heated broth or stock in small amounts as it is absorbed. Typically a large ladle-full will do. 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.
TO FINISH AND SERVE CREAMY PARMESAN RISOTTO
Remove from heat. I like to add a touch of cream to mine at the end for the added flavor and creaminess. 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). Incorporate the cheese in batches to prevent clumping. 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 the broth 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.
SEARED SCALLOPS WITH CREAMY PARMESAN RISOTTO
So, recently I served my Creamy Parmesan Risotto with Seared Scallops. OMG! Basically, follow the recipe above to prepare the risotto. The only exception, is to add two cloves of minced garlic to the rice while it is toasting. For a quick tutorial check out my video on TikTok by clicking here. If you have not yet joined this platform, use my code 5SSIS800K0H06 to create an account. You will want to try and time this recipe so that the risotto and scallops are finished close to the same time. As noted above, risotto is always best served immediately.
Let’s talk scallops. It’s very important when selecting scallops to buy dry-packed. As opposed to wet-packed scallops that not only contain chemicals, but will also lose volume during the cooking process. Just like anything you want to sear, the scallops need to be as dry as possible when placing in the pan.
Rinse scallops. Pull off and discard the foot (the piece of muscle that attaches to the shell). Place scallops on paper towels to drain. Pat dry. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cast iron is perfect to sear scallops. The scallops will never stick, and is the perfect vehicle in creating an amazing sear. A non-stick pan will also work well. Get the pan smoking hot. Place scallops and allow them to sear on one side for about a minute and a half to two minutes. Add just a touch of butter to the pan once the scallops have seared for about a minute. Try not to touch the scallops as they are searing. Flip and sear on the other side for just about a minute.
You should notice a beautiful crust. Plate the Parmesan Risotto. Top with these beautifully seared scallops! Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and ENJOY!
CREAMY PARMESAN RISOTTO WITH ASPARAGUS
WOW! This was amazing. To the butter and oil add two cloves of minced garlic. Add in the rice. Proceed with the recipe above. On the third round of broth infusion, add in about three-quarters of a cup of chopped fresh asparagus. Continue on with the recipe as directed.
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