Shortcut To A Tasty 'Risotto'


Special to The Courant

January 30, 2014


Some recipes allow the cook to walk away from the stove and let heat and ingredients do their thing. Others, like the technique for making risotto, are more demanding. They require the cook to participate throughout the cooking process.

The method for making risotto isn't difficult but calls for close attention to the rice. Rather than steeping the rice in boiling water, broth is added to the grains little by little, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before more broth is added. The technique produces a creamy rice, enhanced with butter.

We used this cooking technique to make pasta risotto-style. The recipe calls for ditalini, a short tube-shaped pasta, although any small shape from orzo to mini penne will work. We also streamlined the process a bit by stirring in the liquid in two additions.

Feel free to add your own touches at the end, such as cooked shrimp, leftover cubed chicken or crisp-fried bacon.


>>1 tablespoon oil

>>1 cup diced onion

>>2 cloves garlic, minced

>>8 ounces mushrooms, chopped

>>8 ounces pasta such as orzo, ditalini, tubettini or small penne

>>1/2 cup white wine

>>2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

>>1 cup water

>>1 (14.4-ounce) bag frozen green peas

>>Salt and pepper to taste

>>1 tablespoon butter

>>1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Heat oil in a soup pot. Add onion and garlic, and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and pasta, and cooking, stirring to coat the pasta with the oil, for 30 seconds. Stir in wine, and cook 5 minutes to reduce the wine. Stir in 1 cup broth and 1/2 cup water, and simmer, stirring frequently, until pasta has absorbed most of the liquid, about 10 minutes. Add remaining broth and water, and simmer until pasta is al dente, about 10 to 15 minutes. (If you prefer more tender pasta, add 1/2 cup water and simmer to desired texture.) Stir in green peas and cook just until peas are warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in butter and cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.