Cooking Dinner

Risotto-For-One….It Can Be Done!

Written by ASingleGirl

Today was a rare Saturday.  I had no meetings, no commitments, and no major chores hanging over my head.  My day was all my own, a blank slate, a canvas waiting to be filled with whatever I wanted to paint upon it.  So, I decided to make this rare day even more special by treating myself to risotto.

That’s right, risotto.

Yes – I know I’m a single girl, and risotto is often seen as a group food that’s made in large quantities.  It also has a well-earned reputation for being high-maintenance.  But if you have the patience, and a little bit of time, the reward is well worth the trouble of the process.

The first time I had risotto I was with my mom at a high-end restaurant.  She’d ordered it and was kind enough to let me taste.  That one forkful was all it took to make me a life-long fan.  I’ve tried to make it using recipes on the web, but every recipe was geared toward families or large groups.  So, I realized that unless I wanted to waste food (wasting food = wasting money, and I HATE wasting money), I had to come up with a recipe for a single serving of risotto.  It took a few attempts, but I think I’ve hit upon a very yummy solution.  This is a basic recipe.  From here, you can make it your own.  Add in herbs, or veggies, or meat, or whatever floats your boat.  Make it your own.

Here’s how I made my Risotto-For-One.

Start by getting all your ingredients together.  This means chopping your onion, grating your cheese, simmering your stock, and gathering any other ingredients (veggies, meat, etc.) you want to add.  This is a very important first step.  Remember what I said about risotto being high-maintenance?  I wasn’t lying.  Once you start, you can’t leave the stove.  The secret to really yummy, creamy risotto is the constant stirring.

Web prep

So get it all ready now!  You’ll regret it if you don’t.  Trust me on this.

Web butter

Start with a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium to medium-low heat.

Web onions

When butter is melted, add in the onions and cook for a few minutes until they’re softened (3-5 minutes should do it).  Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Don’t let the garlic burn, or your risotto will be bitter.  Unless you like the taste of bitter garlic – then by all means, burn away.

Web rice toasting

Add the rice and stir it around so all the rice is coated with the butter/oil.  Let it cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.  This process “toasts” the rice and heightens its nutty flavor.

Web wine

Pour in 1/4 dry white wine.  Stir until the rice absorbs almost all of the wine.  Most of the alcohol will cook out, leaving only the rich taste of the wine.  It’s not overpowering – just a subtle background note that makes you go “mmmmm….”

Web 1 addition

Now comes the most important part.  Start adding the chicken or veggie stock a little at a time.  Because I made such a small quantity of rice, I added it about 1/4 cup at a time.  Stir the risotto constantly until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Web 2 addition

Then add another 1/4 cup stock and keep stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Web 3 addition

Then add another 1/4 cup stock and keep stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Web 5 addition

Then add another 1/4 cup stock and keep stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Sensing a pattern here?  No, it’s not a broken record, it’s just the process of risotto.  Remember the high-maintenance part?  See?  I said I wasn’t lying.

Web 7 addition

Then add another 1/4 cup stock and keep stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Repeat this process over and over again.  At about the 5th or 6th addition, I start tasting a few grains of the risotto to see how it’s doing.  If there’s any crunch at all in the grains, or if the grains are hard or chewy, it’s not done yet.  Keep adding stock and stirring, taste-testing grains before adding the next batch of stock.

Every brand of rice is different, and everyone’s stove is different, and everyone cooks at different altitudes, so I can’t give you an exact amount of stock you’ll need.  Just keep adding and tasting until the rice is soft and magical.  My risotto-for-one recipe took 7 or 8 additions of stock.  It’s amazing how much liquid those little grains of rice can absorb!

Web cream

And now to gild the lilly…

Splash in two or three tablespoons of heavy cream.

That’s right, I said heavy cream.  I didn’t say this was a low-cal recipe.

Web cheese addition

Take the risotto off heat and add the cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted.  Now is the time to test for spices.  The cheese is pretty salty, so I didn’t have to add any salt.  I did add pepper, and some chives.

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Resist the urge to eat it right out of the pan.  Garnish with chives and reward all your hard work by eating immediately.

Here’s the complete recipe.  Enjoy!

1/4 Cup Arborio rice
1/4 Cup diced onions
1/2 Teaspoon diced garlic
1/4 Dry white wine
2-3 Cups simmering chicken or vegetable stock
1 Teaspoon butter
1 Teaspoon olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 – 1/2 Cup shredded parmesan cheese
Herbs and spices of your choice

1) Prepare all ingredients, chop onions, grate cheese, etc.
2) Melt butter and olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
3) Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes until softened.
4) Add garlic and cook for another minute or two.
5) Add rice and stir to coat with butter.  Cook for 2-3 minutes to toast the rice.
6) Add white wine and stir until wine is absorbed.
7) Add stock 1/4 cup at a time and stir until most liquid is absorbed.
8) Continue adding stock 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition.
9) Taste-test a few rice grains after the 5th or 6th stock addition to test for doneness.
10) Continue adding stock 1/4 cup at a time until rice taste-tests done.  When rice is done, no longer crunchy or chewy.
11) Add 2-3 tablespoons of cream and stir until combined.
12) Remove from heat and add cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted.
13) Taste test for spices, and add any spices/herbs you’d like.
14) Serve immediately.

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