Most traditional Italian cooks are demandingly specific about risotto. Use only arborio rice. Toast it gently in butter. Add hot broth, one ladleful at a time, stirring until every drop is absorbed. The cheese, of course, must be freshly grated.
Chances are, by the time the dish reaches perfection, an intensive hour has been invested.
But if you have a risotto hankering and not much time, take the offensive. Use instant (precooked) rice. Just put it in the pan and add seasonings and broth blended with a little cornstarch to create the risotto creaminess, and bring it to a boil with a stir or two. You'll be ready to eat a good 45 minutes before the purist gets out of the kitchen.
Four more high-speed risotto recipes
Follow the recipe above, omitting the nutmeg and pumpkin, and instead:
1. Cook asparagus slices and soaked porcini mushrooms with the onion until onion is limp, then add grated lemon peel.
2. Stir in crumbled gorgonzola cheese instead of parmesan, along with thin slices of ripe pear. Sprinkle portions with chopped roasted, salted pistachios.
3. Add bite-size pieces of cooked chicken, pork, sausage, or small shrimp, blanched broccoli, and canned roasted red pepper strips along with the cheese.
4. Stir in shredded smoked mozzarella cheese instead of parmesan, along with chopped yellow tomatoes, pan-browned bits of prosciutto, and slivered basil leaves.