The Ingredients Graham Elliot Adds To Risotto For A Mac And Cheese Spin

Graham Elliot's rise to fame began as a contestant on "Iron Chef" and "Top Chef Masters" to later become a judge on "MasterChef" and "MasterChef Junior" — in other words, he quickly went from asking for cooking advice to giving it. So when it comes to making something like risotto, Elliot is a more than suitable chef to turn to for tips and tricks.

Plus, Elliot adds a few ingredients that truly elevate a risotto: bacon, beer-braised onion, and white cheddar. During an appearance on CTV News, in which he made the dish, Elliot said, "I like to take things that everybody knows but put my little twist on it. So with this one, it's almost like a fancy version of mac and cheese." He noted that the beer brings out unexpected flavors, while the cheddar subverts the expectation of a Parmesan-filled risotto — putting a twist (or two) on a well-known dish, indeed.

Elliot says you shouldn't be intimidated by risotto

During the appearance, Elliot and the host discuss the fact that many people find making risotto to be a bit intimidating, especially if one doesn't have much cooking experience. But Elliot claims that there's nothing to worry about, saying it's no different from any other cooking application in that it takes something raw and cooks it using heat. However, it does require attention. Elliot said, "This is not [a recipe] where you can throw it and set it and forget it and run away. You have to be committed, at least 20 minutes."

Elliot's other tips include using a wooden spoon to stir because it won't get hot (and the rice won't stick to it) and to keep stirring it in one direction only — these two things will help protect the texture, which is highly important for risotto. Additionally, you have to continually add a ladle's worth of stock or water every so often, in between stirring.

If you'd like to try out Elliot's beer and cheddar risotto, there are versions of the recipe online, but if you want to ply these general risotto tips, you can try our own Parmesan risotto or mushroom and roasted garlic risotto.