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Parmesan Risotto

This 25 minute dish is a lifesaver. Just always keep white wine, arborio rice, and some chicken or vegetable stock on the shelf (or in the freezer in the case of the stock). 

Put your stock in a saucepan and warm it up, then keep it warm to use in a few minutes.  An aside: You can add flavor to this pot that will accentuate the risotto you are making. Like put the tough bottoms of the asparagus in, or onion peels, or parsley stems, or shrimp shells, or corn cobs, or whatever pertains to your risotto that evening.

Very finely dice a white or yellow onion. A shallot, red onion, or garlic would probably do no harm.

Put a sautee pan on the heat and add a layer of olive oil and once that's warm, the onion. Put a pinch of salt over them to help them sweat, rather than brown. Make sure to keep moving them around so they don't brown. 

When the onions are translucent, add about a cup or so (more if you want more) of arborio rice and stir it around with your Italian grandmother's wooden spoon so it becomes coated in the oil.

When the rice begins to crackle and just before it is about to stick, barely cover with white wine. Allow this to absorb, stirring occasionally.

From now on you will ladle the stock over the rice one ladle at a time, just before it is about to stick. You don't have to stir constantly, just check on it, and listen for any crackling - the rice is telling you it wants more liquid. The idea behind adding a ladle at a time is so that you don't oversaturate the rice - you want it to be done just right. so once it starts looking good - begin to taste for the right tenderness. slightly al dente is ideal. At this point you can also start adding salt and pepper and tasting to adjust.

As the rice is cooking, grate a good amount of parmesan cheese. The real, expensive stuff - it's worth it. When it is a few minutes from being done, add about a tablespoon of butter and a good double handful of grated parmesan. Stir that in.

At this point, you can jazz it up with whatever you like. How about some fresh, chopped spinach to wilt in there. Or arugula. or scallion greens. parsley. basil. rosemary.

I consider this a fine meal, served with some slices of good bread and a hearty salad.

Once you master this technique you can get really creative with different types of risotto!

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