Almost Hands-Free Saffron Risotto with Chicken and Peas
Why This Recipe Works
For a simplified risotto recipe, we swapped our saucepan for a thick, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven that trapped and distributed heat evenly and ensured our risotto cooked evenly. We seared bone-in chicken breasts and then poached them in the broth before adding it in two intervals to the rice, stirring only occasionally. And to make sure the bottom of our risotto didn’t cook more quickly than the top, we stirred the pot for just a few minutes and turned off the heat. The rice turned perfectly al dente from the heat retained in the pot, giving us a foolproof risotto recipe.
|5||cups low-sodium chicken broth|
|¼||teaspoon saffron threads|
|1 ½||cups water|
|2||bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces each), each cut in half crosswise|
|4||tablespoons unsalted butter|
|1||large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)|
|1||large garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)|
|2||cups Arborio rice|
|1||cup dry white wine|
|2||ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)|
|¾||cup frozen peas|
|1||teaspoon juice from 1 lemon|
|2||tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves|
|2||tablespoons chopped fresh chives|
|Ground black pepper|
Secrets to Almost Hands-Free Risotto
In the traditional approach to risotto, near-constant stirring for 25 minutes accomplishes two things: It maximizes the release of starch from the rice, for a creamier sauce, and it ensures that the whole pot cooks evenly. Here’s how we achieved the same goals, with just a few minutes of stirring.
1. ADD LOTS OF LIQUID
Once it starts bubbling, a full 5 cups of liquid added at the start of cooking agitates the rice grains much like stirring, accelerating the release of creamy starch.
2. PUT A LID ON IT
A lid, coupled with the heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and low heat, helps to distribute the heat as evenly as stirring, so every grain is as tender as the next.
3. STIR, THEN REST
A brief stir followed by a five-minute rest provides additional insurance that the rice will be perfectly al dente, from the top of the pot to the bottom.
Per Serving (Serves 6)
Calories 485; Cholesterol 45 mg; Fat 14 g; Sodium 234 mg; Saturated 7 g; Carbs 62 g; Trans 0 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Monounsaturated 4 g; Sugar 2 g; Polyunsaturated 1 g; Protein 19 g