by Priya Perera

Of all the pasta dishes, risotto is the one that is truly made with love.  It’s the watched pot that will boil – and stick to the pan – so you have to keep an eye on it.  It’s one and a half hours of tending to a fussy baby – stirring it to sleep and quenching its thirst one ladleful at a time.  But fear not!  Done correctly you will have accomplished home cooking so rare to LA you’ll never want to use a microwave again. To keep things a bit more interesting, here is a recipe (inspired by a class I took at the New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA) choreographed to a few tunes that will make this tasty effort all the more worth it. So press play and pour yourself a nice glass of white wine…and keep that bottle open because you’ll need it as part of this delicious dish (6 servings):

Step One – Ingredients, Cutting and Chopping

Radiohead “15 Steps”

The Bird and The Bee “Preparedness”

Justin Timberlake “Chop Me Up”


  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided (2 tablespoons each)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 ½ cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 5-6 cups chicken broth (or get the 32 ounce carton from Trader Joe’s and add another 1 ½ – 2 cups of water)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup grated Reggiano parmesan cheese

Step Two – Pots and Pans and Heating Things Up

King Curtis “Pots and Pans”

Beatfanatic “Cookin'”

Nouvelle Vague “I Melt With You” (Cover)

You’ll need two 2 quart saucepans (one is to keep the broth warm and the other is where the actual cooking takes place)

In one saucepan, heat the broth until it is hot (not boiling) and keep it hot on a back burner by covering with a lid and keeping it over low heat – we’ll come back to this later…

In the other saucepan, over medium to medium high heat melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil.  Once butter has melted add the onion and cook until it looks transparent and tender.

Add the garlic, lower the heat, and cook another minute.  Add the mushrooms, bay leaves, white wine and water.  Raise heat and bring to a boil, then cover the pan and lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes is up, uncover the pan and add the Arborio rice.  It should look something like this:

Step Three – Stir it Up

Bob Marley “Stir It Up”

Radiohead “Little By Little”

Zero 7 “In the Waiting Line”

Scissor Sisters “Comfortably Numb” (Cover)

Elbow “With Love”

…And now, here’s the part where you break out that big spoon and stir.  The main point of the stirring is to keep the rice from sticking to the pan so you can take little breaks, but don’t stay away too long.  Keep the heat low and once all the liquid is absorbed and looks something like this, add a ladleful of broth and continue stirring:

Repeat this procedure until all the broth is gone or until the rice is tender (takes about 30 to 40 minutes).

Step Four – The Finishing Touches

INXS “Taste It”

The Ohio Express “Yummy Yummy Yummy”

Etta James “At Last”

Add the salt and pepper to taste, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat and mix it up until all the butter and cheese are mixed in.  And now the big reveal:

Priya Perera is a music licensing profesh and sometimes brings her leftover risotto for lunch at Warner/Chappell.