Spring vegetable risotto
Risotto is easy. I'll say it again: Risotto is easy!
Sure, when it's done right and served fresh it tastes creamy and deep and time-intensive. And yes, the dish has a bit of a reputation of being lots of trouble. But these are all illusions.
If you have a couple ingredients lying around that harmonize, a cup or so of short-grained rice (arborio or something like it), and some chicken or vegetable stock, you can cook something that tastes like you stood over a stove for hours and hours. Here's how.
Half an onion, chopped fine
Two cloves garlic, minced
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, warmed
1-2 cups short-grained rice (1 cup will lead to 3 or 4 servings at least, so no need to go overboard)
Vegetables or meat of your choosing (tonight it was chopped snap peas, halved cherry tomatoes, and pancetta browned in a pan)
1/4 cup white wine or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp butter
1 cup parmesan cheese
Chopped herbs for garnish
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a thick-bottomed deep skillet or pot. Add the onions and cook on high heat until translucent. Stir in the garlic for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the rice until each grain is coated with oil. When the ends of the grains of rice begin to become translucent (this takes a minute or two , no more) add the white wine or vinegar and let it cook off for a minute or two longer. At this point the edges of the rice should be translucent and the grains should be a little slimy -- not dry, but not soupy either. Add a cup of stock and turn the heat to low. Allow the liquid to cook down, stirring occasionally. When the liquid is almost gone -- the rice should almost be sitting at the upper edge of the liquid -- add a half cup more and keep stirring. Continue this process one half cup at a time for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste the rice periodically. When ready, the grains should be toothsome but clearly cooked through. Stir in the cheese, butter, and vegetables and/or meat and allow to cook for a couple minutes more. Spoon into shallow bowls and serve garnished with the herbs, more cheese, and some fresh pepper.