While stirring and stirring Lynne Rossetto Kasper's classic white risotto last night, I was mentally preparing a crabby essay about risotto, how it's overrated, not as good as pasta, gruel with a pretty Italian name. And so on.
Except this risotto was (of course) beyond delicious. Beyond beyond. Credit goes to the broth I simmered for 14 hours, plus the mountain of Parmesan cheese that I grated by hand. One of the most hateful kitchen tasks, hand-grating a mountain of Parmesan cheese.
But worth it. It doesn't matter if every bite of risotto is just like the last if you can taste, in every bite, meat broth, butter, onions, and Parmesan cheese, enormous flavors all somehow contained within each plump little grain of rice.
Also, in case anyone was worrying, I found candied citron. Cal-Mart the supermarket of my childhood, had some stocked high on a remote shelf. I had to ask a surly grocery clerk to bring a ladder and get it down for me. He seemed very put out. At this time of year, shouldn't the glaceed fruits be prominently displayed? Cal-Mart is where the preppy seventysomething matrons of Pacific Heights all shop and if even ladies who wear plaid skirts and headbands in their graying bobs have given up on fruitcake, is there any hope at all?