[Photograph: Gentl & Hyers]

Whether it's because of the dish's finicky reputation or else from fear of making it "wrong," risotto isn't something that most of us cook at home. But here's a dirty little secret: risotto is fairly easy to adapt to your own personal taste and it's actually quite quick and easy to cook at home. David Tanis's recipe in his new cookbook, One Good Dish, is a fine example. He's relaxed about risotto technique; one needs only to check and stir the pot every once in a while, adding stock as needed. By using a few good ingredients (saffron, stock, and wine), he elevates the rice without adding anything to the recipe's workload. And to please every type of risotto eater, Tanis asks for cooks to reserve a bit of broth to loosen up the rice if needed upon serving. It's up to you to make it as thick or as soupy as you'd like.

Why I picked this recipe: While far from revolutionary, Tanis's risotto exemplifies the concept of simple, good cooking.

What worked: When it comes to risotto, simple is good, and it doesn't get much simpler than a lemon and pinch of fragrant saffron.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: I served the risotto with a bit of broccoli sautéed in olive oil to round out the simple meal.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of One Good Dish to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.


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