We remember the late 90's when every food magazine offered the definitive risotto technique. Writers trudged to Italian villages to learn how rural matrons made this popular dish. Even as newbie foodies, we rolled our eyes at these accounts. Why make it sound so treacherous?

We have a tried and true technique, learned not at the side of a Piemontese peasant woman but through observation and common sense. Risotto is a stress-free dish that's perfect for a quick meal on a winter night. It's nothing more than rice, liquid, dairy, and optional add-ins. The only trick is to use a short-grained Italian rice such as arborio or carnaroli. These special rices absorb a large amount of liquid and sport a starchy endosperm that will add creaminess to the final product.