Legendary cooking teacher Marcella Hazan taught us an important tip on risotto. "Each carnaroli grain has two starches that react differently to heat and moisture. One expands the other dissolves, that's why you have to keep stirring risotto." This delicious recipe is from her book Marcella Cucina (HarperCollins, 1997).
- 1⁄2 lb. green beans, trimmed
- 1 beef bouillon cube
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced into 1⁄2" pieces
- 1 2⁄3 cups carnaroli or other Italian risotto rice
- 2⁄3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cook beans in a medium pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain. Cut cooled beans into 1⁄2" pieces, then set aside.
Meanwhile, bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Reduce heat to low, add bouillon cube, and stir until dissolved. Keep broth warm over low heat.
Heat 1 1⁄2 tbsp. of the butter, the oil, and the onions in a medium-size heavy pot over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until onions are pale gold, about 7 minutes. Add peppers, increase heat to high, and cook for about 1⁄2 minute, stirring constantly. Add reserved green beans and cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes.
Add rice to the beans and peppers, stirring to coat with the oil and butter and to combine it with the vegetables. Add 3⁄4 cup of the simmering broth at a time, stirring the rice constantly; wait until almost all of the broth has been absorbed before adding more. Continue cooking and adding broth (you may have some broth left over) until rice is tender but firm to the bite, about 15 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and vigorously stir in remaining 1 1⁄2 tbsp. butter and the parmigiano-reggiano, then season liberally with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.