Yesterday, C. was caught in traffic on the M25, en route back from working Sunday, and, since we'd already bought everything we needed to cook risotto, C. suggested I go ahead. "Just follow the directions on the back of the box", he said. By the time he made it home, the preliminary onions were still slowly cooking away, not yet ready for the other ingredients. Eventually, they and the mushrooms were ready to proceed.
I got ready to measure out the rice with a scale, as most English recipes use scales. "Oh, I don't bother. It's too fiddly." He told me. "I just scoop out however much we usually do when we cook rice." Okay. No scales. A third of a cup apiece it is then.
"Which wine do you use?" I asked. "Wine?" "For the risotto." He shook his head. "Wine is for drinking."
So - since his always turned out so well - I skipped the wine and started cooking the grains of rice in the butter towards transparency. "How long does it take?", I asked him. "Oh, I never do that step. I just stick it in and move on to the stock." Rebelliously, I cooked them for a while anyways.
Twenty minutes later, we sat down with our visiting pittenweem to eat. It was delicious. But it wasn't the recipe on the back of the box.