Risotto isn’t difficult to get right. It’s impossible.
Cook it too fast, and it’s soupy undercooked rice. Too slow? And you’ll never get dinner on the table.
What is it about risotto that makes me want to take a nap midway through?
Try as you might to follow a recipe from a famous chef (like me), it never turns out as easy as they claim or as sexy as the pictures look. Oh, you might get close. You might get 90 percent through the recipe, and think to yourself “I’ve got this!”
You do not got this.
It can be daunting, like doing stand-up right after Lenny Bruce. Here’s my suggestion: take the pressure off yourself. Treat each batch of risotto as a learning experience, have a glass of wine, take a Xanax, relax. You’ll get through it. And you’ll come out a better cook because of it.
32 ounces chicken stock or vegetable stock 4 tablespoons (56 g) butter, divided 2 tablespoons (25 g) olive oil 1 pound (453 g) onions, 1⁄2-inch diced 1⁄2 cup (100 g) Carnaroli risotto 2 teaspoons (8 g) kosher salt 1⁄2 cup (120 g or 120 mL) dry white wine, such as pinot grigio 1 bunch (20 g) thyme, tied with a piece of kitchen twine 1 heaping cup (120 g) cherry tomatoes, halved 2 tablespoons (2 g) thyme 2 teaspoons (6 g) sweet or smoky paprika. Doesn’t matter! 1⁄2 cup (80 g) feta, crumbled 1⁄2 loosely packed cup (3 g) mint
Add chicken stock to a small saucepan, simmer over medium heat.
Add 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions to pan and sweat until translucent. Add risotto to the pan and increase heat to medium-high to toast the risotto, stirring continuously to prevent burning. Add the salt and white wine to the pan, stir to incorporate, and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
Add the cherry tomatoes, thyme, and paprika to the pan. Stir to incorporate.
Add 1⁄2 cup of chicken stock to the pan, stir constantly, and cook until the liquid has been fully absorbed. Continue adding stock 1⁄2 cup at a time and stirring until the liquid has been absorbed.
When the risotto is al dente, remove from the heat and stir in the feta, 2 tablespoons butter, and mint. It’s important to stir vigorously at this point. The harder you stir it, the more emulsified the butter and cheese will be. Serve immediately.