Time: 50 minutes. Slowly stirring hot broth into creamy white rice soothes the soul--and the result comforts the body.
Sunset FEBRUARY 2009
1. Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a medium pot. Keep at a simmer, covered, over low heat.
2. Heat the olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed 8-qt. pot. Add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent and beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add rice and sauté, stirring constantly, until just the edges of the grains look translucent, about 3 minutes.
3. Add wine and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until wine is completely absorbed by rice. Add about 1/2 cup hot broth to rice and cook, stirring constantly, until broth is completely absorbed by rice; reduce heat to medium-low if mixture starts to boil. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until each addition is absorbed before adding the next, until rice is just tender to the bite (15 to 30 minutes; you will have broth left over). Keep rice at a constant simmer. While rice is cooking, melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oyster mushrooms and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.
4. Remove rice from heat and stir in parmesan, pepper, parsley, remaining 1 tsp. butter, sauteed mushrooms, and salt to taste. For a looser risotto, stir in 1 to 2 cups remaining broth. Serve immediately, with more parmesan on the side for sprinkling.
*For a recipe, go to sunset.com/chickenbroth
Choose the Right Rice:
Risotto's characteristic creaminess and chewiness come from the rice itself, and risotto rice is no ordinary rice. It contains two different starches: an amylopectin exterior, which softens faster--especially under the pressure of constant stirring--to create a creamy sensation in the mouth; and an amylose interior, which stays relatively firm during cooking to give you that al dente bite.
Arborio is the starchiest of the three popular risotto types, and it's the most prone to getting gummy as it cooks; inside, the grains tend to be chalky and crumbly. Widely available.
Our favorite, Carnaroli has longer, narrow grains that cook the most evenly and have the best texture—creamy without being gluey, and a good chewy interior. Find at Whole Foods Markets, A.G. Ferrari Foods (agferrari.com), and gourmet grocery stores.
Vialone Nano grains are smaller, oval-shaped, and produce a delicate risotto with a nutty flavor. Find at A.G. Ferrari Foods (see above) and specialty stores.
Surprise: Sushi rice. Medium-grain Nishiki brand is creamy and chewy, and so much like Arborio that half our tasting panel couldn't tell the difference. Plus, it costs less than any Italian risotto rice.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1-cup serving.
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