When preparing risotto, use the Mise en Place technique and assemble and measure out all the ingredients before starting your risotto.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring chicken broth to a slow, steady simmer.
In a large heavy 4-quart pan over medium heat, melt the butter; add onion and saute for 1 to 2 minutes or until soft (be careful not to brown the onions).
Add the rice. Using a wooden spoon, stir for 1 minute, making sure all the grains are well coated (toasting the rice in melted butter keeps it from getting mushy). Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed. Add the hot chicken broth (1/2 cup at a time), stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup, reserving about 1/4 cup to add at the end. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
NOTE: Risotto does not need constant attention during its 18 minute cooking time. You will just need to check on the pan every few minutes, give the rice a stir to keep it from sticking, and add more stock.
After approximately 18 minutes, when the rice is done (it should be tender, but firm to the bite). Turn off the heat and immediately add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cheese, parsley, and pear cubes, stirring vigorously to combine with the rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
NOTE: To test the risotto for proper consistency, spoon a little into a bowl and shake it lightly from side to side. The risotto should spread out very gently of its own accord. If the rice just stands still, it's too dry, so add a little more stock. If a puddle of liquid forms around the rice, you have added too much stock. Spoon some liquid off, or just let the risotto sit for a few more seconds off the heat to absorb the excess stock.
Transfer risotto to warmed serving plates and garnish with the reserved Poached Pear slices.
Makes 2 servings.
Poached Pears Recipe:
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup Pinot Gris wine*
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper
1 ripe (not soft) pear (Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou, or Comice)
* Any dry white wine may be substituted.
Peal skin off the pear; cut in half, core, and then cut into 8 slices (I use my pear cutter that also cores them).
In a small saucepan, add lemon juice, wine, water, sugar, and pepper; heat until just comes to a boil; reduce heat to low and add pear slices. Simmer approximately 3 minutes or until pears are tender. NOTE: Judge the tenderness of pears by probing carefully with a thin bladed knife - it should meet little resistance. Do not poach for too long as the pears will quickly disintegrate to mush. When done, carefully transfer pears with a slotted spoon to a cutting board.
Cut six of the pear slices into small cubes; set aside.