This is a basic risotto
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion
2 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
9 to 12 cups of light, boiling chicken broth
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Melt 1/2 stick butter over moderate heat in a large, heavy stockpot. Add the chopped onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and golden, about 7 minutes. Add the Arborio rice. Stir well to coat the rice with the butter. Sprinkle with the saffron threads. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Increase the heat to moderately high. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth (or enough to just cover the rice), stirring constantly. When all of the broth has been absorbed, add approximately 1/2 cup more boiling broth, stirring until it is absorbed. Repeat this procedure, adding 1/2 cups of broth until the rice is al dente. Add broth at the end to adjust sauce. (You will need between 9 and 12 cups of broth altogether.)
3. Stir the remaining butter into the rice along with the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Taste for seasoning, and serve on warmed plates.
This is a basic risotto; its only flavoring, beyond the fundamentals, is saffron. It is also one of our favorites. In Lombardy, where it originated, it is always served as an accompaniment to osso buco (defying the risotto-as-a-separate-course rule). Serves 12