Master Recipe for Basic Risotto

2 tbsp. minced shallots or 1/4 c. minced onions
Olive oil & butter
2 1/2 – 3 cups stock (see note in cooking instructions)
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

TO START:
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and keep the liquid hot.

In a saucier or sauté pan over medium heat, sauté onions in 1 tbsp. each butter and oil, stirring occasionally, until onions become translucent and slightly golden–about 5–8 minutes.

Add the rice and stir constantly until all the rice is slightly translucent and a white spot appears in the center of the grain–about 3 minutes.

TO COOK:
Turn up the heat, pour in the wine and stir until it is absorbed–about 2 minutes. Set the timer for 20 minutes now. The timer is only an approximate measure. The rice should only be cooked until it is tender but still chewy (firm to the bite or "al dente"), but never so long that it is soft in the center. (I don't do this anymore, but it's a great way to teach yourself the feel of how long to cook it)

Add just enough hot stock to cover the rice, stir well, and reduce the heat so it cooks "at a lively pace". Keep gently stirring the sides and bottom of the pot until the rice has incorporated all the broth. This should take about 3–4 minutes. Season w/ salt & pepper.

Continue to add the hot broth, little by little, stirring continuously until at least 2 cups of the broth has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, about 18–20 minutes in all. When I first posted this, a lot of people said that needed more stock. My advice is, be careful, especially if you’re using canned or salted stock. All the cookbooks I used said 2 1/2 to 3 cups stock, so I’d say, adjust the heat until it takes 20 minutes to absorb 3 cups of stock.

Hint: As the risotto nears completion, gradually reduce the amount of liquid you add at each time, so when it is fully cooked, it is only slightly moist–no liquid should be left unabsorbed at the end.

TO COMPLETE:
Stir in half of cheese and 1 more tbsp. butter and cook, stirring constantly, for 1–2 minutes. Take off the heat and salt to taste.

Serve immediately with fresh ground pepper and the remaining cheese sprinkled on top.

Adapted from Cooks Magazine, Chez Panisse Vegetables, Williams–Sonoma Risotto, The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, and The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

Source of recipe: Marie-Louise