Risotto, according to Benelli, is auditory, and one need only pay attention to the symphony of sounds signaling different stages in the cooking process to guarantee success. To demonstrate, he starts by making a risotto base, sauteing shallots and garlic in olive oil. Once the sizzling has subsided, he adds all the rice at once. (''Calculate the traditional way,'' he suggests, ''one handful per person.'') Flavor, he notes, is best coaxed out of the rice by toasting—not browning, which seals the grain, impeding its ability to soak up liquid in later steps. ''The rice will whistle when it's time to scrape whatever is stuck on the bottom of the pan,'' he says. ''This is the moment to deglaze, to shock the rice with cold wine—it must be cold. Let it evaporate completely.'' I hear a crackling sound as the rice starts to open and to release its starch. At this point, he begins to pour in the warm broth slowly, in increments—always just enough to cover the rice.