Traditionally risotto, which is an Italian rice dish, is prepared just before serving. If it sits around and is then reheated, it can turn into a gelatinous mass. But there is a trick to avoid that lengthy last-minute time in the kitchen.
Make most of the risotto in advance. You can cook it two-thirds of the way through and then stop. About 10 minutes before you plan to serve, continue preparing it. The boiling stock you will be adding will prompt the risotto to resume cooking.
Mushroom Risotto – serves 4-6
6 cups chicken broth + boiling water (if needed)4 tablespoons butter or olive oil + 1 tablespoon or more for cooking mushrooms1 large onion, finely chopped2 cups Arborio rice1 cup dry white wine2 8–ounce packages sliced mushrooms1 cup grated Parmesan cheese1 teaspoon salt
Heat the broth in a saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a large pan and add the onions. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the onions soften.
Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, or just enough to coat the rice with the butter (or oil).
Stir in the wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated. Add a few ladles of broth, just enough to cover the rice. Cook over medium heat, continually stirring, until the broth has been absorbed.
Continue cooking and stirring the rice in this manner, adding broth a bit at the time, for 10 minutes. The rice will not be fully softened, but that’s fine. Remove from the heat and set aside, uncovered.
Before leaving the kitchen, cook the mushrooms. Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a frying pan and add about half the mushrooms. See Mom Cooking Tip 83. Remove cooked mushrooms from the pan and add more butter or oil if needed. Then cook the rest of the mushrooms. Set aside.
About 10 minutes before you plan to serve, reheat the remaining broth. Retrieve the partly-cooked risotto, turn on the heat the medium and add a few tablespoons hot broth. Continue stirring and adding more hot broth until the rice is done. If you run out of broth, use boiling water. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the cooked mushrooms.
At this point, the rice should be tender but still firm to the bite. It should have a creamy, moist consistency. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
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