finely dice onions
wine or apple juice
Chicken stock or water.
Heat the oil. Pour the oil into a separate, heavy 4-qt (4-L) saucepan or stockpot. Set the pan on the stove over medium-low heat.
- Allow the oil to heat up for 30 to 60 seconds before continuing. It should not create smoke, but it should become warm enough to spread over the bottom of the pan with ease.
Cook the onion. Add the chopped onion (or chopped shallot) to the hot oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until it becomes soft.
- In addition to softening, the onion should also become slightly translucent and more fragrant.
Cook the garlic. Add the garlic to the oil and onion. Cook while stirring for another 30 to 60 seconds, or until the garlic becomes more fragrant.
- Note that the garlic may also begin turning golden-brown, but you should not allow it to darken beyond that stage. Burnt garlic can easily ruin the flavor of the dish.
Add the rice and salt. Add the dry Arborio rice to the onion and garlic. Sprinkle everything with the salt, then stir well to combine.
- Continue stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. The rice should be well-coated with oil and salt, and the edges should begin turning translucent. Note that the center should remain opaque, however.
Ladle in a small portion of broth and wine. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup (125 to 185 ml) of the warm broth to the rice, immediately followed by a splash of white wine. Cook for several minutes, or until the rice absorbs the liquid.
- Stir frequently while the rice continues to cook. Make sure that any rice gathering along the sides of the pan get turned back into the center of the mixture.
- When it's time for the next step, the rice should begin sticking together. Drag the spoon along the bottom of the pot; the resulting trail should hold its form for at least several seconds before collapsing again.
Gradually add the remaining liquid. Add the remaining broth in 1/2 to 3/4 cup (125 to 185 ml) increments, following each addition with another splash of wine.
- Stir and cook after each addition, allow the liquid to absorb in between each one, as well.
- After 25 to 35 minutes, nearly all of the liquid should be used and absorbed. The rice should be creamy and tender, but it should still be "al dente." In other words, it should have some firmness or "bite" in the center of the grains.
Stir in the cheese and pepper. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese and black pepper to the risotto, then stir to combine.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the risotto to sit for another 5 minutes off the heat.
Serve with additional cheese. Transfer the risotto into individual serving dishes while it's still warm. If desired, enjoy the dish topped with additional Parmesan cheese.