Some rich chicken broth, an onion, a pinch of saffron, and a lemon can turn a handful of arborio or other risotto rice into a fine small meal. Once you master the technique—it needs to simmer briskly, and it takes a little nursing—you’ll be able to produce a good risotto in about 20 minutes.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season, and cook gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and saffron, stir well to coat the rice, and let sizzle a bit. Allow the onion to color slightly, add the wine and a good pinch of salt, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the lemon zest and juice and the butter. Taste a spoonful to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Add a splash more broth if the risotto seems too stiff. Stir in the grated Parmesan and serve in shallow soup bowls. If you prefer a more soupy risotto, as I sometimes do, ladle a little extra broth into each bowl.
© 2013 All rights reserved. Published by Workman Publishing.