Risottos can be first courses, main courses, or sides. As a side, this would pair well with roast pork or chicken. The apples are added in three stages, so you get to taste three textures of the fruit at once. I think pears would be great here, too, as well as Asian pears. Definitely a fall dish.

3 c chopped apples, peeled if you like, divided
1 T lemon juice
4 – 5 c chicken broth or vegetable stock
4 T butter or oil, divided
1/4 c chopped onion or scallion
1 c Arborio or other risotto rice
1/2 c dry white wine or apple juice
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
salt and pepper, to taste
grated nutmeg, optional

1. Toss chopped apples with lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning while you make the risotto. Set aside. Heat broth or stock to a simmer, reduce heat to keep liquid at a bare simmer.

2. Melt 2 T of the butter or heat 2 T of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. You don’t want to use high heat, the rice needs to cook slowly. Add onion along with a pinch of salt and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the rice and 1 cup of the chopped apple. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine or apple juice and cook stirring constantly, until the liquid evaporates.

3. Add a cup of the broth and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has almost been absorbed. From this point on, add broth in 1/2 cup increments, stirring frequently each time until liquid has almost been absorbed. After about 15 minutes, add another cup of the chopped apples.

4. Keep adding broth until the rice is creamy, yet still al dente (firm). The whole risotto process should take anywhere from 18 to 20 minutes, perhaps a bit longer–it depends on your stove top.

5. When done to your liking, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan, remaining butter or oil, along with some salt and pepper. Grate or sprinkle some nutmeg over all if you like. Serve, topping each portion with some of the reserved, chopped apple.