A real risotto is luxuriously creamy; this is achieved by stirring in small amounts of hot stock during the cooking process, and only adding more after the previous amount has been absorbed. The best risottos are made freshly to order so they retain their delicious creaminess. Use short grain Italian arborio rice. The method here is for a basic risotto; other prepared ingredients such as sautéed vegetables or fresh herbs can be added 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
Melt 40g (1½oz) butter and 2tablespoonsolive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add 1 finely chopped onion and fry until golden. Add 375g (12oz) arborio rice and stir for 1–2 minutes until a pale opaque colour.
Heat 1.2-1.8 litres (2-2½pints) of chicken stock and add a ladleful, stirring until absorbed. Continue adding stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring for 20–25 minutes until the rice is cooked but still firm.
After adding the stock stir in any prepared ingredients and warm through. Stir in 25g (1oz) butter and season to taste. Spoon on to individual plates and serve at once, topped with coarsely grated Parmesan cheese.