RISOTTO has a reputation for being needy: Needing one pot for simmering stock and another for the rice to plump up and make its own silky sauce. Needing to be continuously ladled and stirred, ladled and stirred. The whole act can be meditative and even fun—in a witch-standing-over-a-bubbling-cauldron sort of way—but, as it turns out, all that effort is not strictly needed. As Judy Rodgers, the late chef and driving force behind San Francisco’s Zuni Café, wrote in The Zuni Café Cookbook, “I started experimenting with cold, warm, and hot stock and found I could make a creamy risotto with any one.” She also wasn’t concerned about how often you add more stock, as long as the grains don’t dry out. “It is only the final doses that require thoughtful judgment, to make sure you don’t add more stock than an al dente grain needs.” This means you can grab any stock out of your fridge or pantry to start your risotto—and roam the kitchen making salad and putting away dishes as it cooks, no longer tethered to the pot. “This convenient heresy alarms even longtime cooks at Zuni,” she continued, “but it has not failed me.” In this citrus version, Judy stirred in chunks of fresh grapefruit and lime that dissolve into colorful flecks, but you can use her convenient heresy with any mix-ins you like. Print
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
4 to 5 cups chicken stock, divided*
3/4 cup grapefruit segments plus juice, from 1 to 2 medium grapefruit
A scant 1/4 cup lime segments, from 1 lime
1/4 cup mascarpone
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sauté the onion: In a 4-quart saucepan or another medium pot over medium- low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt and cook, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon, until the onion is tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
Simmer the rice: Add the rice and stir until the grains are warm and glossy. Pour in about 2 cups of the stock, adjusting the heat to let it gently simmer, then stir occasionally until it has been mostly absorbed. Add another cup or so of stock and repeat. The risotto should be starting to look like a porridge. Taste and adjust the seasoning—the rice will still be hard and a little raw tasting. Add another 1/2 cup or so of stock and stir as needed until just absorbed. Taste and adjust the seasoning again.
Stir in the citrus: Break the citrus sections into irregular chunks as you add them to the risotto. Add the grapefruit juice—if your grapefruit was very juicy, you may not need much of the remaining stock.
Beat in the mascarpone and eat: Taste again: If the rice is still quite firm, add more stock, a tablespoon at a time, and cook until the rice is still just a little firm in the center (al dente). Turn off the heat and aggressively stir in the mascarpone until the risotto is creamy and the citrus is broken down into pretty flecks. Serve immediately.
Make ahead and store: The segments and juice can be made the day before (and onion chopped, too) and kept in sealed containers in the fridge. Leftover risotto will firm up in the fridge and won’t be as creamy but can be turned into other delicious
Use stock that’s likely to taste fresh and delicious, like homemade or one sold at a butcher or in the freezer section. Judy preferred plain water to a flat-tasting boxed broth. I’ve also made superquick stocks alongside my risotto pot, by heating up water with mashed overripe tomatoes, smashed garlic cloves, herbs, anchovies, or Parmesan rinds.
Reprinted with permission from Food52 Simply Genius: Recipes for Beginners, Busy Cooks & Curious People by Kristen Miglore. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2022 by Food52 Inc.
Photographs copyright © 2022 by James Ransom
Illustrations copyright © 2022 by Eliana Rodgers
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: californian
- Serving Size: 4
Keywords: risotto, citrus