- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) olive oil or unsalted butter
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine, 1/3 cup (80 ml) dry vermouth, or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine or champagne vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A couple parmesan rinds, if you have (optional, see Note)
- 5 cups (1.2 liters) water
- 1 cup (195 grams) uncooked arborio, carnaroli, or another short-grained rice, such as sushi rice
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, divided
- 3/4 to 1 cup (about 85 to 90 grams) grated parmesan cheese
Make risotto: In 4-quart Dutch oven or deep, oven-safe saucepan with a lid, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
If you’re using parmesan rinds and have 10 minutes to spare: Add wine or vinegar to onion and garlic and cook until it boils off. Add water, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, many grinds of black pepper, and your parmesan rinds and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover pot, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. This gives the rinds a chance to infuse the broth a bit more deeply before making the risotto. Leave the rinds in the pot, add the rice, and give it a stir. Replace the lid, and transfer the pot to the oven.
If you’re not using parmesan rinds, or you’re using them but are in more of a hurry: Add rice to onion and garlic mixture and cook, toasting gently, for 2 minutes. Add wine or vinegar to rice mixture and cook until it boils off. Add 4 cups water, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, many grinds of black pepper, and parmesan rinds (if using) and bring mixture to a simmer. Place lid on pot and transfer to the oven.
Both methods: Bake risotto in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed, but it looks a tiny bit watery.
To finish: Transfer pan to a trivet or cooling rack on your counter. Remove lid, fish out and discard parmesan rinds, and stir mixture for 2 minutes, or until the mixture looks more creamy and risotto-like. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper to your taste. Add most (about 2 1/2 tablespoons) of the butter to the risotto and stir well to combine. Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese to finish, and add the rest — using the smaller amount for a moderate parmesan flavor and the larger amount for a more robust one, stirring to just combine.
To serve: Scoop into a serving bowl. Finish with remaining pat of butter, more black pepper, and reserved cheese.