Our Basic Risotto recipe will allow you to make untold variations of this classic northern Italian dish. There’s a lot of elbow grease involved as it requires constant stirring but using a wok makes... this whole job easier. Why all the stirring? The stirring breaks down the starch in the rice as it absorbs the broth, making it creamy. Beating in butter at the end gives a silky smoothness to the risotto while the cheese adds umami as it melts into the rice. If you are worried about the fat, hold the butter and beat in the cheese on its own.
Bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and set aside at the back of the stove.
In a wok or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they are soft and transparent but without color, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook until the grains become transparent at the edges, about 1 minute.
Add 1 ladleful of stock to the rice, and cook, stirring until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring all the while until the rice is al dente and creamy-looking, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reserve the last ladleful. Add raw vegetables, for example asparagus, when the stock is about half used up, or with the second-to-last ladleful if using cooked or frozen vegetables.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, beat in the Parmesan cheese and butter, if using, and the last ladleful of stock. Take off the heat, cover, and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Serve topped with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
Rice will continue to absorb liquid while it sits, so it’s important to serve risotto as soon as it is at its creamy best. If your risotto has sat too long and is a little sticky looking, bring it back to creaminess by stirring in an extra ladleful of hot stock.