I can't remember when I discovered risotto. But there are risottos that I remember very clearly. I remember the risotto with squid ink that I had in Vegas...oh that one I will never forget. I remember the chicken risotto with carmelized onions that I made about a year ago. It was the first one I made with my risotto pot given to me by Michelle. How I love that thing! When I traveled to Porto Alegre on business for the first time and realized that risotto is a staple down there, I knew I was in heaven.
Risotto has a stigma attached to it that it's hard to make. Many people, including my Dad, think it's fattening because it's creamy, and anything creamy must have cream in it. Both of these, are untrue. Risotto is not hard to get right. It might be a bit labor-intensive in that you have to stir it often, but think of it as a good workout for your stirring arm. Good risotto is creamy, yes, but the creaminess comes from the cooking method, not cream. The more you stir a risotto, the more the grains of rice rub together. The rubbing causes some of the starch to come off the rice, thus making it creamy.
In the Jan/Feb issue of Everyday Food Magazine, there is a recipe for a parmesan-carrot risotto. I decided to try it out last night and all I can say is WOW! If you're watching your carbs, it's a lighter risotto than normal because it only calls for 1 1/4 cups of rice and the rest of the bulk is from 6 shredded carrots that have a similar texture to the rice and give it a wonderful, sweet flavor. It's a great one to make if it's your first risotto because there aren't a lot of ingredients, and it's so delicious that if you don't eat risotto often, you will get hooked. I decided to pair it with some flank steak on top, but this could also be served with a salad, some fish, chicken, or even on its own. Enjoy!