*a shallot or two
*some butter
*some arborio rice
*some stock (veggie, chicken, or otherwise)
*something yummy to put in
*parmesan cheese


*So, this is a pretty yummy recipe. Risotto is a traditional Italian dish. It can be used as a main course or as a side dish. Lots of cookbooks say it’s wacky and hard, but Tom’s method seems pretty foolproof. Here goes.

*Chop up your shallot (and/or onions and garlic) and sautee them in butter. Use more than you normally would ­ you’re going to use the butter to coat all the rice.

*When the onions/shallots are translucent, add the arborio rice. 1 cup should make enough dinner for two people, if that’s all you’re serving. Stir it in and make sure that all the rice is coated with butter. This will keep the rice from sticking together.

*Add some stock. Add enough so that the top of the rice is barely covered by liquid. Get the liquid bubbling; and keep stirring the rice. (If someone wants to help, this is a great job for them). Set your timer for 20 minutes. THIS IS THE SECRET TO MAKING RISOTTO. So, I’ll say it again. Set your timer for 20 minutes. Turn it on. Keep stirring the risotto; add more liquid when it is no longer covering the top of the rice. NO MATTER WHAT, keep adding liquid until the 20 minutes is up. Add water if you have to.

*After 20 minutes of stirring and adding stock, taste the rice. It should be not soggy, but not crunchy. It should still have some texture. If it’s still too crunchy, keep adding liquid and cook. Check every two minutes or so. When you’re done, make sure that it’s not too soup ­ you should be able to stop stirring and see the top of your rice. When you get to this point, remove from heat. Stir in as much cheese as you want. Taste. Add any other things you’re putting in it (see below). Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

*My favorite things to put in risotto: sautee’d mushrooms. grilled vegetables. Sausage crumbled and cooked. sautee’d veggies, if I can’t grill them. fresh basil chopped small. Any fresh spice, as a matter of fact. Sometimes I put grilled meat or fish on top, sometimes I serve it with big grilled portobella mushrooms. Yum.


Tom taught me to make risotto. Now it's Russell's dish when we're cooking together.