I know, some days I sound like the biggest food snob.
I swear, risotto is one of those things that sounds ultra-fancy, you may pay a fortune for in a restaurant, but it’s just rice. I promise it’s easier than steamed rice; it’s as easy as making oatmeal. It’s nursery food.
If you love risotto, just try it once. Once you’ve figured it out, there are all sorts of possibilities with risotto. I just stuck with the basic lemon-parmesan version I made last time, but after I scooped some of it out it occurred to me I could tear some fresh spinach straight into it, and it would just wilt into its warmth. It was great.
Since I was busy prepping other things, I pulled a chicken from the freezer, stuck it in a bowl of warm water to thaw, and then roasted it, knowing it would be super with the risotto and the leftovers will feed the boys tomorrow in my absence. Another zero-effort dish, unless you count rubbing it with oil and sprinkling it with salt and pepper. The spent lemons I used in the risotto filled up the cavity nicely, too. (Hint: roasting chickens is a great way to keep cast iron skillets well-seasoned!)
So really, the idea behind risotto is that you stir it lots (in contrast with not disturbing it as it cooks) in order for the rice to release its starch into the dish, making it thick and creamy and oatmeal-like. Which is what makes it particularly difficult to screw up; you just keep on adding liquid, cook until it absorbs it all, and add more and keep on stirring until the rice is tender. If there’s too much liquid, it will eventually absorb it; if there’s not enough, add more. You warm the stock first so that it doesn’t cool the risotto and slow the cooking down every time you add some.