Despite what they say on Master Chef[1], risotto is really not that hard to make. It’s actually really easy. Professional chefs get antsy about it because everyone has a different opinion on how gloopy it should be. Regular people don’t care because it’s basically carbs and cheese (AKA delicious) so who cares if it isn’t exactly the right amount of gloopy? The hardest part of making risotto is that you have to stand at the stove and stir it for about fifteen minute while it cooks but this is actually really relaxing and pleasant/not that hard at all. Risotto is tasty and comforting. It’s a good thing to make on a cold Friday night after a long week to remind yourself that you’re actually an accomplished human being/everything isn’t so bad after all.  
Onion: a brown one.
Garlic: a couple of decent sized cloves.
Celery (optional): I never have celery and refuse to buy a whole bunch when I only want a stick or two, so I usually leave this out.
Olive oil: good quality olive oil makes everything better. You should get some. But just use what you have, it’s fine.
Rice: you want “arborio” rice. This is a special kind of rice for making risotto (and similar dishes). Don’t use regular rice. It won’t work.
White wine: remember, they invented really cheap wine for cooking. $4 wine is fine.
Stock: from a stock cube (unless you’re feeling fancy). I usually use chicken but other kinds would also work.
Butter: some.
Parmesan cheese: a bunch.
Something for flavour: I used bacon, peas and sage. Mushrooms are also delicious (use a couple of different kinds for extra fanciness/deliciousness). You can use basically anything. See what you have in the fridge and then Google the name of that thing followed by “risotto”. If it seems to be a thing, then you can use that thing in your risotto.
Two saucepans with lids[2]
A wooden spoon
Put your stock into a saucepan, on one of the back burners out of the way. Put it on a gentle heat just so it stays warm. Put the lid on.
Get the onion and garlic and the celery if you’re using it[3]. You can either chop everything up really finely or put it all in a blender and whiz it. The latter is both easier and more effective. If you don’t have a blender, do yourself a favour and buy a blender.  
Heat up another saucepan and put a good glug (a tablespoon or two) of olive oil in it. Add the onion mix[4]and cook until it starts to go see-through. You don’t want it to go brown so keep an eye on it.  
When the onion is translucent, add the rice. You want to cook it (stirring all the time) until the rice starts to look a little see-through as well. Instead of being a solid lump of white, the grains should look slightly clear with a dollop of white in the centre.
Slosh in a glass of wine. It’ll sizzle away  Jamie Oliver says it should “smell fantastic” but I think that’s only if you don’t use really, really cheap wine. Stir and cook it for another minute or so until the wine starts to absorb into the rice.
Now it’s time to start adding the stock! Most recipes will tell you to add it a “ladle at a time” but you don’t need to be too exact. I usually add the stock in four or five goes. Throw the first “ladle” of stock in. Stir and stir and stir. There’s a lot of stirring involved. When the rice has absorbed most of the stock (and any liquid in the pan looks thick and creamy) add some more stock. Repeat! Repeat again![5]
Once you’ve almost used all the stock, check your rice. Get a little on your spoon and taste it. Is it cooked? Or is it still crunchy? If it needs longer, keep going. If you run out of stock and the rice still isn’t cooked, you can use a bit of hot water instead of stock to finish it off.
The consistency of the finished risotto is contentious. Jamie says you want it to look like “lava”, whatever that means. Basically all the stock should be absorbed but you still want it to be a bit sloppy. Kind of like porridge I guess? You can add a little more stock if you think it’s too thick. Once you’ve made this a couple of times, you’ll work out how you like it.
Take the pan off the heat. Stir in a good lump of butter (about a tablespoon) and a handful of parmesan. Put the lid on the pan and let it all sit for a couple of minutes. This step is hard because you’re hungry but it’s really important. It makes it all gooey and yum.
Tada! Risotto! Put it in a bowl and eat it! You can sprinkle on parmesan or feta or another kind of delicious cheese. Be happy and warm and cosy.

[1]Although considering this season’s contestants were using foam guns in week one, maybe they’ll stop calling risotto the “death dish”?
[2]I only own one saucepan so I put my stock in a deep frypan. This also worked.
[3]I also added sage at this point, you can add thyme or rosemary depending on the type of risotto you’re making.
[4]I added bacon at this point. You could add your mushrooms or whatever else.
[5] This recipe used peas so I put the frozen peas in the stock when about half the stock had been used. Then I added the peas to the rice along with the stock.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year