Risotto from Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell

It’s officially winter in New York and the one meal we’ve all been craving is a hot bowl of risotto. Since comfort food is on our minds, today we are sharing a risotto recipe from Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell. Cal’s risotto is buttery, cheesy, and super flavorful. We know what we’ll be making tonight! Check out Twelve Recipes, which offers Cal’s tips and tricks from his years at cooking in restaurants and at home and features beautiful photographs and illustrations. Purchase a copy of Twelve Recipes from your favorite retailer.


093_12R_Cooking_007My sons, and especially my wife, love risotto. I like risotto fine, but what I love is leftover risotto, particularly when it is made into little pan-fried cakes or deep-fried balls. I first had these stuffed and breaded risotto fritters (called arancini, or “little oranges,” for their shape and sunny color) when one was handed to me through the window of the Sicily-bound train I was on. It was crisp, golden, and filled with a spoonful of beef stew with little green peas. I learned two important lessons as the train rolled out of the station that day and I held the now-empty square of grease-spotted paper, sa­voring the last saffron-scented bite: risotto is well worth making, even if only for the leftovers, and only a fool buys just one arancino.

If there’s one rule that should go unbroken in this book and in your kitchen, it is this: never use stock from a can or a carton, for anything, especially for making risotto. If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, cook your rice another way. Chicken stock is inexpensive and easy to make (page 206), and though it takes several hours, it’s all away-from-the-stove cooking time. If you must have risotto tonight but have no homemade stock, use water, please.

This recipe makes too much risotto, which is ideal for leftover-loving me. It can be halved if for some reason you don’t want any leftovers, though I honestly cannot imagine why you wouldn’t. Beginning a fast? Final supper? Leaving town first thing? Even if you are, you’ll want to take a nice arancino for the ride, no, caro mio?

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • Salt
  • 2 cups short-grained Italian rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli (I have also made good risotto with short-grained Japanese rice)
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock, hot
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion and ½ teaspoon of salt and stir. Cook until the onion is soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the rice and another ½ teaspoon salt and cook to toast the rice a little, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the wine, let it bubble for a minute, and then add 1 cup of the hot chicken stock. Keep the skillet at a lively simmer and stir to keep it from sticking. When the liquid is nearly gone, add another cup of stock. Repeat the additions of stock, stirring and tasting for doneness and salt as you go. When the rice is tender but still has a little bite, it’s done—about 20 minutes after the wine went in. The risotto should be quite moist, so if it seems dry at all, add a splash more stock or water. Turn off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the cheese, and stir energetically for 15 seconds. Cover the pan and let it sit off the heat to gather itself for a couple of minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Twelve Recipes

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