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Julia Siciliano’s Simple Risotto

Risotto is my husband Robert’s (Trevino, conductor) pre-concert meal of choice, so I’ve made this several hundred times by now....

Decide what sides you want (yesterday I used 1/2 a zucchini and about 8 button mushrooms), and prepare them. I sautéed zucchini and mushrooms in olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic. Sear them in high heat first, then lower once you get a bit of browning. Put the garlic in slightly after vegetables to avoid burning the garlic. Then, keep cooking on medium low while you prepare the rice. Season as you like.

Have some broth (or just salted water, depending on how rich you want the risotto) simmering in a small saucepan.

In a medium saucepan, sauté a shallot (or leek, or onion, whatever you have!) in some olive oil. When it is soft and fragrant add a cup of Arborio (or carnaroli) rice to the pan. At this point season with salt and pepper, and mix the rice around until it is coated.  Do this for about 5 minutes.  Then toss in a bit of dry white wine (whatever you have!) or eliminate this step if you don’t cook with alcohol.  From this point, add a ladle-full of heated broth (or water) and stir. Every time the pot starts to get dry, add more liquid and keep stirring. Do this until the rice is at the consistency you want (chewy, not soggy for me).

Now, add your cooked vegetables, and mix them in with Parmesan cheese, butter, or none of the above. (I’m lactose intolerant so avoid dairy, and it still tastes great!). I also added pre-cooked baby shrimps in at this point for a little protein.

Then serve with a drizzle of high quality olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

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