Miami chef Michelle Bernstein believes every beginner should know how to make a decent risotto: "If you follow the recipe of a traditional risotto, if you have the stock hot and don't cook it over 20 minutes, it should be good. Risotto is easy to make, but you have to pay attention." Creamy risotto is often associated with high-end restaurants, but it's really one of the simplest comfort foods that a home cook can whip up. once you have the basics down, use Food & Wine's guide to find recipes and flavoring ideas for any occasion.

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Risotto with Anchovy and Ginger

Marzapane restaurant in Rome flavors this buttery risotto with both salted anchovies and colatura, the deeply savory Italian version of fish sauce. As a surprisingly delicious contrast to the rich risotto, the chef garnishes the dish with candied ginger. Slideshow:  More Risotto Recipes 

Risotto-Style Penne with Tomatoes and Zucchini Blossoms

Rating: Unrated
Fabio Trabocchi, an F&W Best New Chef, likes this unusual method of cooking pasta in the style of risotto to create a rich, silky sauce. "It works beautifully with small shapes like penne," he says. A really good imported slow-dried pasta will be quite porous, which allows it to soak up liquid bit by bit, just as rice does in risotto; it also means the pasta will maintain its shape as it becomes al dente. Slideshow:  More Penne Recipes 

Fennel Risotto

Rating: Unrated
Venice-based blogger Skye McAlpine doesn't add wine to this risotto; this keeps the fennel flavor pure and sweet. Swap a vegetable stock for the chicken broth if you're cooking for vegetarians. Slideshow:  More Risotto Recipes 

Baked Shrimp Risotto

Rating: Unrated
In her cheater’s risotto, Kay Chun doesn’t bother with stirring; instead, she bakes the rice in the oven, then adds shrimp and cheese at the very end. Slideshow:  How to Make Risotto 

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Chicken-and-Seafood Paella

Rating: Unrated
“A real paella is infused with smoky flavor, which is why traditional Spanish cooks almost always make the dish outside over a large fire,” Seamus Mullen says. This recipe requires a 17-inch paella pan, which is available online at tienda.com.

Cheesy Farro-and-Tomato Risotto

Rajat Parr came up with this vibrant risotto when trying to feed a bunch of hungry friends in his San Francisco apartment from a pantry that happened to contain tomatoes and farroMore Amazing Vegetarian Dishes