UPDATE:  For some reason lately I have been having trouble making Risotto.  This is my most favorite Risotto recipe, so when it came out tough a few times...I really paid attention to what I was doing.
Totally cover the rice in liquid.  Use a pot that has high sides on it.  Allow it to sit and absorb the liquid, then stir well.  Allow the rice to absorb ALL of the liquid, before adding any more.
Now it seems to take me 40-45 minutes...but you know what??:
It is dang delicious.  I would never have believed it, but this is quite possibly the best Risotto I have ever had.  Mama!  It was good!  And the really exciting thing, I was not quite sure  how to go about it… just happened!  Normally, Risotto is made with white wine, which I did not have,. .…it turned out fabulous!
I used my homemade Vegetable Stock
Vegetarian Risotto:
1 cup Arborio Rice
3  1/2 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of water
5 Tblsp. Butter – reserve one Tblsp. For the end
drizzle of olive oil
2-3  splashes of Balsamic Vinegar
2/3 cup frozen peas
3 large crimini mushrooms, finely diced
6 fresh asparagus – cut into 1-2 inch pieces
2 large shallots, finely minced
3 minced garlic cloves
good pinch of Saffron
salt and pepper to taste
2 palm-fulls of Parmesan cheese
First, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer – add in the peas, and cut asparagus, simmer 2 minutes, then remove the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.  Now add ½ a cup of water to the stock, and the 2-3 splashes of Balsamic Vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring back to a light simmer.
Heat up a medium sized sauce pan on medium heat, add in the butter and a drizzle of olive oil.  Once heated, add in the mushrooms to brown- 3 – 4 minutes . Then add in the shallots, salt and pepper, and a minute or so later, add in the diced garlic, sautéing until fragrant.  Now add in a good pinch of Saffron, stirring to infuse.  Add the Arborio Rice and stir to coat about 2–3 minutes.  The rice wants to look glistening, and the edges somewhat translucent.  Then add in a ladle or two of the simmering vegetable stock.  Stir to combine and let sit for a bit….then stir again.  When the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle or two of broth, stir, and let simmer.  You don’t need to constantly stir, but somewhat frequently, until liquid is absorbed.  Then add in another ladle full of broth, stir, and allow to simmer.
Continue this process for about 30 minutes, (I used up all of the vegetable stock) taste the rice, if eldente, a soft chewy texture, add in the peas and asparagus, mixing to combine.  Add in the butter, and  Parmesan cheese mixing to combine.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste…serve hot for any side dish.

Ina Gawne
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May 18, 2010