Most of risotto’s flavor comes from the stock—that’s why it’s worth making your own. The stock you choose can completely change the dish’s character. Here are six to try.
1. Mushroom stock
For a stock that will amplify the mushroom flavors, sauté white mushrooms with carrots, celery, onions, garlic and herbs, then cover with water and simmer for 2 hours.
2. Vegetable stock
For a more delicately flavored vegetarian risotto, cover carrots, onions celery, turnip, garlic and herbs with water and simmer until infused.
3. Chicken stock
Chicken stock is the most versatile for risotto. For a lighter chicken stock, cover a whole chicken along with leeks, carrots, celery, garlic and herbs with water and simmer for 1 hour; remove the meat to use in soup or salad, then return the bones to the pot and simmer for another hour. If you like a more richly flavored stock, brown the chicken bones and vegetables first along with some tomato paste.
4. Turkey stock
It’s not just for Thanksgiving gravy. Roast the turkey parts first for 1 ½ hours before combining them with vegetables and simmering for 2 ½ hours.
5. Ham stock
For an intriguing, smoky stock that’s delicious with mushrooms, cover smoked ham hocks, carrots, onions and bay leaves with water and simmer for 2 hours.
6. Beef stock
To make the risotto taste extra meaty, roast beef shanks and vegetables until browned, then deglaze the pan with water. Cover the shanks, vegetables and meaty juices with water and simmer for about 4 hours, until richly flavored.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.