I tried the Lemon one first because I loved the verbiage that was included with it at the end. After practice, you'll find that you don't need to stir non-stop. But you do need to be attentive especially after the first two or three additions of liquid. Your mind can wander a bit by the fifth and sixth and you'll still have marvelous results.
The basics are standard (onion / shallot, garlic, cheese, white wine, stock / broth, toasting the arborio rice, cheese-butter-cream at the end) in almost every recipe. But from there the sky is the limit! I have used mussels yummmmy!
, squash, asparagus and mushrooms at different times with great results.
Lemon Risotto with Gouda
6 cups chicken stock -- or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion -- diced fine
2 cups arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup Gouda -- grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley -- chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons lemon zest
Bring stock to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter with the 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups hot broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes.
Stir in the cheese. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Season risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.
The risotto-making process is easy, but certain steps should be followed. The gradual addition of small amounts of liquid at a steady heat gradually dissolves the soft starch surrounding the rice kernel, which begins to swell. Constant stirring rubs away the dissolving starch and at the same time distributes it, binding it uniformly to every single grain of rice and to all the ingredients in the pot. It is only through that sustained stirring motion that you produce the amalgam, the creamy fusion of swollen rice and vegetables, or seafood, or meat that is risotto. Mantecare is the final step of making risotto. The word is borrowed from the Spanish for butter, mantequilla. In Italian it means to work butter or cream into what you are cooking to give it a soft consistency. In making risotto you do this when the risotto is cooked but is still steaming in the pot. Add a tablespoon or so of butter and some freshly grated cheese, and swirl them in to combine. It is the final and best touch, giving the risotto its great consistency. Lemon juice and peel offer a double punch of flavor in this delicious dish. Serve the risotto Italian-style as a first course, or American-style as a main course.
Risotto with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Basil
5 cups low-salt chicken broth (homemade or canned)
4 tablespoons butter
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted in dry pan
Bring broth to a simmer in a pot. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add shrimp and sauté a minute or two, just until pink. Remove them to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Add the olive oil to the saucepan. When hot, add shallots and garlic; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sauté until their liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.
Add rice; cook and stir 2 minutes to coat thoroughly. Add wine; simmer, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
Add a ladle of hot broth (¼ - to ½ - cup) and stir rice, wiping it away from the bottom and sides of the pan, until liquid is absorbed. Continue gradually adding broth and constantly stirring until the rice is firm but tender with no chalky center, 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup of the cheese and half the basil into the risotto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Portion risotto into individual bowls. Rewarm shrimp and arrange on top. Sprinkle with pine nuts and the remaining cheese. Garnish with remaining basil and serve. Makes 4 servings.