Tuesday, June 5, 2012

No-Fuss Risotto

My risotto always turns out crunchy.  Every time.  Well all 5 or 6 times I've made it.  No matter how much broth I stir in or slowly I incorporate it, it comes out much more al dente than I prefer.  I think risotto is some kind of art that the right side of my brain has never been able to master.  Lucky for me the brilliant testers at Cook's Illustrated created a paint by numbers version.  Don't assume because it's "no-fuss," that it is any less fabulous than risotto made via the traditional method (I've had some excellent ones in restaurants).  This unique method of cooking the risotto covered in a dutch oven produces a creamy, velvety rice perfumed with wine and Parmesan cheese.  Ahhhhh!  And it's just right.  Not crunchy in the slightest (and also not mushy). 

This is cause for serious celebration!  Okay, maybe not that serious.  But I was a little impressed with myself for making a risotto that I would be proud to serve to guests.  Finally!

Oh, see that bread in the background?  That's Hubby's handiwork on his quest to master the baguette.  :) Go Hubby!  This is one of his early works where he forgot to score the bread...but that didn't deter us from gobbling it all up.  He's gotten quite good at it and can whip out a baguette in no time these days.

To the folks at Cooks Illustrated: I'm fairly certain you guys and gals are cooking geniuses.  

The only comment I have on the risotto, other than the heavenly heartwarming thoughts I have when thinking about it, is the teaspoon of lemon juice called for in the recipe was unnecessary in my opinion.  Hubby agreed as well...it's tasted too lemony.  If you want a lemony risotto, keep it in.  The recipe calls for a cup of white wine so there is already a fair amount of acid to balance the rich, creamy, Parmesan cheesy goodness.

Risotto is comfort food akin to a good homemade macaroni cheese.  The variations and flavor profiles are vast.  And I'll be trying several of them out now that I've been introduced to this no-fuss method.

Here's to easy (non crunchy) risotto!


No-Fuss Risotto
from Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I will omit next time)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat broth and water in a large saucepan on high until it reaches a boil, then reduce to a simmer. 

In a dutch oven over medium heat,  melt two tablespoons of butter.  Add in onions and 3/4 teaspoon of salt and cook until the onion is soft about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in Arborio rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes.  Add the wine, stirring continually, and cook until fully absorbed, about 2 to 3 minutes. 

Stir in 5 cups of broth/water mixture and reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 16 to 19 minutes, until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed, stirring twice during that time.  Add 3/4 cup of broth/water mixture and stir gently and continuously about 3 minutes until the risotto is creamy.  Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Remove from heat and cover.  Allow the risotto to stand for 5 minutes.  To finish, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, parsley, chives and lemon juice.  If you want a looser consistency, add additional remaining broth/water mixture.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.


  1. Yummy! Beautiful pictures too!

    I love making risotto but I don't always want to hover over my stove for the night every time I get a craving. I just posted a recipe for a crab risotto over at my blog and now I'm inspired to write a "no-fuss" version!


  2. I'm so impressed with your husband's bread making skills - kudos to him!! This risotto looks fantastic, and I love the no-fuss factor. I've made a few successful risottos the traditional way, but it is kind of a pain to hover over the stove. Going on my to-do list :)

    Re your question on the crumb cake: I'd have to make them side by side to say for sure, but I think they're pretty comparable. I like that the CI recipe makes less cake - a 13x9 pan is a lot! I always prefer when a recipe is designed to be made in a smaller pan rather than just halving one meant for a 13x9 and hoping for the best!

  3. Interesting variation, I will try it. Your risotto looks very much like comfort food, perfect but simple.
    In traditional risotto I was taught that really stirring the rice with the sofrito initially, so the rice gets very hot but not colored, is the way to ensure that the liquid will penetrate it like it should.

  4. no fuss is the right way to go! looks delicious!
    Mary x

  5. I took a risotto class a number of years ago. I still make the recipe we made in the class. It's a Champagne Asparagus Risotto. It's the kind that you stir but it is so worth it. This one is interesting. I love the idea of not stirring. I think it will give it a try sometime soon.

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