This is the simplest of all risotto. The only major ingredient added to the rice and broth is parmesan cheese. In Italian cooking, you should never use anything except good-quality, freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Inevitably I end up adding more than parmesan. Mozzarella or a good Italian blue added towards the end of the cooking time add something for a day when you need even more comfort.
For 4 servings
2 vegetable stock cubes dissolved in 1¼ litres of water
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
300g raw Italian arborio rice
60g freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt, if necessary
Bring the stock to a slow, steady simmer.
Put the shallots in a heavy-bottomed casserole with 25g of the butter and all the oil, and saute over medium-high heat until translucent but not browned.
Add the rice and stir until it is well coated. Saute lightly, then add 150ml of the simmering stock and stir while cooking, until the rice absorbs the liquid and wipes the sides of the pot as you stir. Add another 150ml of stock as the rice dries out, and stir it very frequently to prevent it from sticking.
When you estimate that the rice is about 5 minutes away from being done, add all the grated cheese and the remaining butter. Mix well. Check salt. Remember, when the cooking nears the end, not to add too much stock at one time. The risotto should be creamy but not runny. Serve immediately, with additional grated cheese, if desired.