Italians eat risotto all year long, but for me it’s emblematic of autumn. When I bought the leeks from the Clark Park Farmer’s Market, I thought I’d make a potato leek soup or a torta salata, but this evening risotto was on my mind.
Clean and thinly slice a leek or two
Saute in butter and olive oil until soft
Add a handful of carnaroli rice per serving
Saute a minute or so until rice is coated
Pour a liberal amount of dry white wine (I used a pinot grigio tonight)
Let it evaporate
If you like the depth the wine brings, add some more
Add enough chicken broth to cover the rice, let the rice absorb the liquid and repeat until the rice is ‘al dente’, i.e. cooked but retaining its shape and bite
Add shaved parmigiano reggiano and serve immediately.
The creaminess of the risotto comes from the rice, not the added fats. Adding butter at the end of the dish is superfluous IMO, unless you seek the flavor, and dairy cream definitely does not belong.
You can vary the liquids (different types of wine and broth) and the soffrito (leeks, asparagus, mushrooms, butternut squash, rosemary and shallots or whatever you want) to create whatever your mood desires. A few summers ago, Eric and I mistakenly poured our dessert wine (moscato) into the soffrito for our tomato/basil risotto. We were pleasantly surprised with the sweet overtones of the dish. (Carla et al in Piemonte refuse to believe that this dish was any good!)
Carnaroli rice from Piemonte makes for the best risotto because it absorbs much liquid yet remains firm. Arborio is a good alternative if you can’t find carnaroli. Claudio’s in the Italian Market sells carnaroli.