Risotto is a rice dish cooked in such a way that the rice makes its own creamy, rich sauce. Preparing it takes time and patience, but it is well worth the effort. It is important to regulate the heat so that you cook the risotto at just the right pace, and you should have everything else for your meal prepared in advance, for risotto must be served immediately.

SERVES 4

4 cups water

1 cup brown rice

3ВЅ cups Vegetable Stock

5 tablespoons butter

6 ounces mushrooms, quartered or cut into eighths if very large (2 cups)

Вѕ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile rinse the rice in a sieve under cold running water. Add to the boiling water. Cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Drain in a colander.
  2. Bring the stock to a simmer in a small saucepan and keep at a very low simmer throughout the cooking of the risotto.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and saut the mushrooms for 3 minutes. Add the drained rice and stir to coat all over. Add one ladleful (about Вѕ cup) of simmering stock and stir the risotto continuously until the stock is absorbed. The heat should be regulated so that it takes about 5 minutes for the stock to be absorbed.
  4. Now add another ladleful of stock and again stir continuously until absorbed. Repeat this process until all but one ladleful of the stock has been used; this will take about 25 minutes. The rice at this stage should be tender yet still slightly firm to the bite; if it is too hard add an extra cup of water or stock to the simmering stock, and when it begins to simmer add another ladleful of stock to the risotto and stir until it is absorbed.
  5. After the next to the last ladleful has been absorbed, add the Parmesan cheese and remaining tablespoon of butter, and stir to blend. Add the last ladleful of stock and stir until absorbed. Season with pepper and serve immediately.