You'll need about a pound of cooked chicken for this chicken risotto recipe. You can use grilled chicken, poached chicken breasts or even leftover roasted chicken.
Cooking the chicken ahead of time (or using leftover chicken) is an excellent time-saver, particularly since you're going to have your hands full just making the risotto.
This is no mere figure of speech. Making risotto involves 20 to 30 minutes of more or less continuous stirring. Ladling hot stock into a pot of uncooked arborio rice and stirring it as the stock is absorbed is the key to a good risotto.
This slow cooking releases the rice's natural starches, producing the creamy, velvety consistency characteristic of perfect risotto. And it's important to use arborio rice. You can use the risotto method to cook other types of rice, but arborio rice is unique in its starch content, and other types of rice won't yield the same creaminess.
The method isn't especially difficult, but it does require your attention and your uninterrupted presence at the stovetop. For an illustrated demonstration of the risotto method, see this step-by-step tutorial: How to make risotto.
- 1 lb (450 grams) cooked chicken (around 2 large boneless chicken breasts or the equivalent)
- 1 1/2 cups (225 grams) arborio rice
- 1 qt chicken stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 medium shallot or 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/2u cup)
- 3 tbsp. whole butter
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for shaving
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Pull the cooked chicken apart into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Heat the stock in a saucepan, and lower the heat so that it just stays hot but doesn't boil.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat, then add the onion or shallot. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Next, add the rice and sauté for another minute or two, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon so that the rice doesn't have a chance to brown, until it gives off a nutty aroma and the grains are coated with the fat.
- Add the wine and cook for another minute, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed.
- Now begin by adding a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and stirring until it is absorbed. It's important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, so that the rice doesn't scorch, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.
- Continue in this manner, adding a ladleful of stock and stirring while the liquid is absorbed, then adding another ladleful when the rice is almost dry. You'll see the rice develop a creamy consistency as its natural starches are released.
- Keep adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.
- Stir in the chicken, the remaining butter, and the Parmesan cheese, and season to taste with Kosher salt. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with additional shaved Parmesan.