Creamy Herb Risotto

I’ve always been a rice eater. With a Filipino Mom, we often had rice as a side when others had mashed potatoes. Roast beef and rice with gravy wasn’t uncommon. My dear brother loved Rice for breakfast, covered in chocolate. I liked rice with milk, butter and sugar for a hot “cereal” in the mornings. Rice was a staple in our house.

It wasn’t until I grew up, left home and began venturing out on my own in the culinary world that I discovered Risotto. It was love at first bite. Risotto requires tending, so I don’t make it as often as I would like to – but each time I do, it’s worth the extra work.

I’ve tried a few “no tend” or “easy” risotto recipes. While they are good, a well-tended Risotto is much more creamy and flavorful. It’s like the difference between boxed potatoes and scratch potatoes. Box potatoes have their place – they are quick and easy to whip up. I often use boxed mashed potatoes when making Shepherd’s Pie or serving a store-bought roasted chicken. (When there isn’t time to cook, a market roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans beats the heck out of fast-food burgers).

Aside from the constant stirring and slow additions of broth, one of the easiest Risotto is a simple herb Risotto. It was great flavor without being over-stated or screaming for attention at the table, gladly assuming the role of “side” to compliment other dishes. I especially like risotto as a side to grilled or baked Italian inspired chicken.

Creamy Herb Risotto
5 cups Chicken Broth, warmed
¼ Cup Olive Oil
½ cup Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
1 ½ cup Arborio Rice
½ Cup White Wine
2 Tablespoons Butter
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Parsley (1 teaspoon dried)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Basil (1 teaspoon dried)
Fresh Parsley, chopped for garnish

Hold broth warm in a sauce pan.

In another sauce pan, heat olive oil.  Add onions and rice, cook over medium heat until rice becomes slightly translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add white wine to rice, stirring constantly until wine has evaporated. Slowly add warm chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, to rice, stirring constantly and allowing broth to evaporate between additions. Continue to add broth and cook rice over medium heat until desired doneness. Rice will begin to swell and become creamy as it cook. Do not rush the risotto. In all, it takes about 25-30 minutes to cook tender and creamy.

Once all the liquid has been added and rice is cooked, remove from heat. Stir in butter, Parmesan Cheese and all the herbs. Fluff, cover and let sit about 5 minutes. Fluff again, transfer to bowl and garnish with additional parsley, if desired.

Note This basic Herb Risotto is great all on its own, or can become a canvas for a variety of Risotto dishes. Add Mushrooms, shrimp or Italian Sausage to create a wonderful “main” entree.

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