My favorite risotto recipe is based on one that actor Stanley Tucci (Big Night) uses, which he learned from his mother. It's called risotto con gamberetti or risotto with shrimp.
Success in making great risotto is mostly about advance preparation and time management. Risotto, properly cooked, is a slow process. It can take about 45 minutes of cooking time (plus prep) to do it right. So, pour yourself a glass of wine and don't rush the risotto! It's very easy to make, but takes patience. Done right, the results are nothing short of fantastic.
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half, lengthwise
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice (don't even think of using something like long grain or sushi rice)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tomato, seeded and diced
4 cups (approximately) chicken or fish stock
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the chicken or fish stock to a low simmer in a saucepan. (Note: Should you run out of stock while cooking the risotto, just use some additional hot water.)
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan or deep-sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and begin to turn golden, about 8 minutes.
Add the rice to the pan with the onion and garlic and stir to coat the rice with oil.
Pour the wine and add the tomato into the pan.
Stir until the wine and the juice from the tomato has evaporated and the bottom of the pan is nearly dry.
Add 1 cup of the hot chicken or fish stock and stir, stir, stir until the rice has soaked up the stock and the bottom of the pan is almost dry.
Continue the process of adding a cup of stock at a time and stirring until it is absorbed. Resist the urge to rush the rice! It takes time and loving care to cook risotto right.
Keep adding stock to the rice and stirring until the rice has puffed up and is al dente -- just slightly crunchy.
At this point, add the shrimp and the peas and stir continuously until the shrimp is just cooked through and barely pink.
Add the (optional) Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir to completely incorporate the cheese into the risotto. Taste and add pepper and salt (if needed). You probably won't need to add salt, as the cheese provides saltiness.
The finished risotto should be creamy and the rice just slightly firm, not crunchy and not mushy.
Serve immediately in warm serving bowls.