It's hard to imagine anything as comforting as risotto, but comfort doesn't necessarily mean humble. Here, we put an elevated spin on the classic by infusing chicken stock with a Parmesan rind and herbs before adding it to carnaroli rice. Finished with a hit of lemon and a ton of freshly grated Parmesan, this creamy dish is everything you want for dinner.
Eight cups of stock may sound like a lot, but in the end, it totals only about six cups of liquid, since the stock reduces as you're cooking the risotto. It's important that the stock already be simmering when you add it to the rice.
Finally, if you can't tell when your risotto is ready, use this clever trick: Pull out a grain of rice and, using your finger, press it down on a cutting board. This should reveal smaller white dots of starch in the rice. If you see three visible dots, your risotto is not done cooking. However, once you see two specs, you can take the pot off the stove.
To learn more, read "TT Culinary Institute: Risotto."
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
8 cups chicken stock
3 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
One 4-inch rosemary sprig
One 3-inch Parmesan rind
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 cups carnaroli rice
1 cup dry white wine
1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot, combine the chicken stock, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, rosemary sprig and Parmesan rind, and bring to a light simmer.
2. Meanwhile, in a 4½-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions, and sweat until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly until lightly toasted and fragrant, 2 minutes.
3. Stir in the wine and cook until fully absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a ladle, add about 1½ cups of the simmering stock, making sure not to add any of the herbs or cheese rind. Cook, stirring constantly until the liquid is completely absorbed, 5 to 6 minutes. Continue this process of adding stock in these increments and stirring, until you have used up all of the stock and the rice is cooked, 25 minutes more.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, butter, lemon juice and zest. Stir until incorporated, then season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls, then garnish with more cheese and serve.