Now that fall has officially arrived and the temperatures are starting to dip, it is time to dig into the rich, stick-to-your-ribs dishes that we have gone without all summer long. One of those hearty meals is risotto, an Italian-style rice dish featuring any combination of vegetables, herbs, cheeses and more. If you’ve never made from-scratch risotto, know that it takes a bit more TLC than your average weeknight meal, but that the results, the tender-firm rice, smooth sauce and comforting taste, are well worth the extra few minutes of cooking.
Food Network Magazine’s Mushroom and Squash Risotto is packed with in-season butternut squash, a mix of dried and fresh earthy mushrooms and plenty of nutty Parmesan cheese. The secret to this risotto is the mushroom broth, made by steeping mushrooms in hot water and adding to the liquid a bay leaf and fragrant cinnamon. When the rice is slowly cooked in the broth, it creates a thick, starchy sauce that’s deliciously creamy. Before serving, shower the risotto with additional cheese and season to taste.
For a fuss-free version of classic risotto, try Ina’s Easy Parmesan “Risotto.” Instead of cooking the risotto on the stove, she bakes it in an oven-proof skillet with just a few cups of stock. Once the rice is al dente, she stirs in cheese, butter and a splash of white wine to finish the sauce before adding a handful of bright peas. Be sure to use vegetable stock instead of chicken to maintain a vegetarian meal.