I love flipping through cooking magazines in search of new ideas. Usually I end up dog-earing a few recipes and then forgetting to go back to them...ever. But I found this idea in a Cooking Light issue from December 2015 and have reused my adaptation of the recipe several times since. The risotto is an awesome side dish or canvas for topping with saucy meat dishes (like my favorite Peach Whisky BBQ chicken...recipe to come!). It's almost like a fancy replacement for mashed potatoes or plain rice, but it can also stand alone. I usually eat the leftovers for lunches throughout the work week.
I like to make really creamy risotto, so it does take a little time and lots of stirring. To be honest, I'm not sure if risotto is supposed to be quite as creamy as mine turns out... I've ordered risotto at Italian restaurants that haven't been as creamy, and I'm assuming those chefs are the experts! But I love how the rice itself can transform into a rich, creamy dish even before adding any cheese. I think I could probably omit the dairy in this dish and serve it to my dairy-free friends without anyone (even cheese lovers like myself) missing a thing!
I do have a confession to make...I think I took all of the "Light" modifications out of the magazine's recipe. The original recipe calls for precooked brown rice and unsalted chicken stock. Since I wasn't focused on the whole grain ingredient as much as on the general flavor inspiration, I used the more traditional method and Arborio rice. I also only had regular chicken broth handy the first time I made this and thought the result was well balanced salt-wise. So I have just stuck with regular chicken broth since then. However, because the Arborio becomes so creamy as you cook it slowly with the broth, I didn't increase the amount of cheese...which is quite unusual for me!
Makes about 4 servings (or more if used as a side dish or small lunch serving)