Risotto is one of those things (like making a roux) that has a mostly undeserved reputation for being difficult. Here's the first myth busted - you don't have to stir it constantly. You do need to hover a bit so it's not great for when you're busy with a million other things. The 2nd myth to discard - it doesn't take forever to make. I timed this one and from when I picked up the knife to cut the onion to serving it took 45 minutes. Again, not an every night thing, but even Rachel Ray can't be too unhappy with that. Make risotto just to prove to yourself that you can; make it because it's so creamy and satisfying; make it because you want something insano purple on your plate just for fun.
P.S. This basic method works great for a simple (non-purple) risotto as well. Just omit the wine and use 2 cups more stock. You can also skip the mushrooms and add just about any cooked ingredient that suits the mood you're in - asparagus, roasted squash, shrimp, peas, corn and lime, herbs and lemon.
Here's what you'll need:
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 c Arborio Rice, or short-grain sushi rice in a pinch
2 c red wine
6 c chicken stock, simmering
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 T butter
1/2 c Parmesan plus more for garnish
a heavy-bottomed sauce pan or small soup pot
Step 1: Saute Onions
Add the garlic and saute for about 5 minutes more. If things start to brown, turn down the heat a bit and move on to the next step. For the record, risotto doesn't traditionally have garlic, but I like it.
Step 2: Toast the Rice
Step 3: Add the Wine
Step 4: Add the Stock in Batches
Before adding the last cup of stock, give the risotto a taste. It should be creamy and thick and the rice should be cooked, but not mushy. You should be able to eat it with a fork. Sometimes I don't need the last cup, sometimes I need 1 cup more.
Step 5: Meanwhile, Cook the Mushrooms
Step 6: Add the Butter and Parmesan
Step 7: Add Mushrooms
Garnish with more grated Parm and you're done.