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Chef with red wine glass


Jamie's Italy by Jamie Oliver

This is a great basic recipe — it can be stretched in so many different ways to turn it into fantastically flavored risottos.
Serves 6

• 2 pints stock (chicken, fish, or vegetable, as appropriate)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• a dollop of butter
• 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 1/2 a head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
• 2 cups risotto (Arborio) rice
• 2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 5 tablespoons butter
• 4 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Stage 1:
Heat the stock. Put the olive oil and butter into a separate pan, add the onion, garlic, and celery, and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without coloring. This is called a soffrito. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

Stage 2: The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

Stage 3: Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice to check if it's cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don't forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Stage 4: Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes amazingly creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while it retains its beautiful texture.

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