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Roundhouse Risotto

This risotto is a crowd pleaser. The trick to making creamy risotto is patience! Stirring is a must!
Ellen McKinney


Try to buy a better quality arborio rice. Packages marked "Italian style rice" are fine in a pinch but the rice is not as plump and therefore doesn't easily grant the tender but slightly chewy al dente texture. Saffron is the world's most expensive spice as the threads are hand picked stigmas of a type of crocus flower. This dish is a classic in Milan. The surprise ingredient of beer gives it a Candian intercontinental twist! Sometimes I add chopped garlic cloves with the addition of the onion.

In a deep skillet, melt 4 T butter over medium heat. Add onion, basil and saffron. Saute until limp, stiring constantly.
Be careful so as not to burn the onions! Add the rice, and stir in the butter onion mix for one minute.
Add beer and lower heat to a simmer. Ladle in a cup of the stock and stir until almost absorbed.
Add another cup of the stock. Continue this process until all of the stock has been added. When rice absorbs the last cup of stock, add the rest of the butter and parmesan.
Stir until the parmesan and rice are creamy. Season to taste.

By the way, you may substitute herbs like oregano and thyme for the saffron if you feel like experimenting. Rosemary rocks in risotto! It's supposedly also an aphrodisiac! Perhaps we should start dropping rosemary sprigs in our bottles!


  • 6 C hot chicken stock
  • 1/2 C butter (I use a bit less when I want to spare fat calories and the flavour isn't sacrificed)
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 1 T dried basil
  • 1 T crushed saffron threads
  • 2 C arborio rice
  • 1 bottle STEAM WHISTLE
  • 2 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste