My aunt always used to make risotto and I remember watching her stand over the stove, drink in hand, stirring and adding liquid for what seemed like forever. But the end result was always worth it. As an adult, I had never made risotto until recently because I'm not a big fan of anything that requires me to stand and stir for long periods of time (I know, I'm lazy, and probably have cooking ADD).
Then I was watching America's Test Kitchen one day and they introduced me to the "almost hands-free" risotto. As usual, I was skeptical. It went against everything I knew about risotto. But again, as usual, I was wrong and ATK was right. One of these days you'd think I would start trusting them, seeing as they test recipes hundreds of times...
Almost Hands-Free Risotto
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Makes 4 main dish servings
3 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/3 cup arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
salt to taste
First you will want to prepare your asparagus. Trim the ends and cut the stalks into 3/4 inch pieces. Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch them for 1.5-2 minutes. This will lock in that beautiful green color and make them crisp tender.
Have you ever noticed that when you blanch asparagus, the water turns green? I figure that some of that green must be good flavor so I actually saved this water and added chicken bouillon to make my 3 and 1/3 cup of broth and then another cup for the water. You don't have to do that, but if you don't, you will need to bring the same amount of broth and water to a boil in a large sauce pan. This is the liquid you'll be adding to the risotto and it needs to be hot.
Next, heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the onions are softened but not browned, 4-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next, add the rice and stir around until the edges of the rice are translucent around the edges. This takes a couple minutes.
Deglaze the pan with wine and stir until fully absorbed, another couple minutes.
When the wine is absorbed, add all but 1 cup of the broth blend.
This goes against everything we know about risotto, but just do it and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring only twice during cooking. Watch the progress below.
At the beginning...
After 5 minutes
After 10 minutes
After 15 minutes
After 20 minutes add the edamame and 1/2 cup of the remaining broth mixture. Stir gently until the risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes.
This liquid should be very thick, starchy and almost fully absorbed.
Next, throw in the asparagus and the parmesan cheese.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper if you think it needs any. If your risotto gets too stiff, use the remaining broth to loosen it up.
Serve either vegetarian style:
Or with a nice sauteed chicken breast: