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Forget the mac-and-cheese. Here are 5 risotto recipes you'll want for dinner

Forget the mac-and-cheese. Here are 5 risotto recipes you'll want for dinner
RISOTTO: Sunny-side up. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Risotto contains all those traits we love about comfort food: It's rich and creamy, warm and soothing, simple and delicious. Typically made with arborio rice, a starchy short-grain rice, this one-pot meal cooks slowly, stock or broth added a little at a time as the rice softens and expands to velvety tenderness in a rich and creamy sauce. It's a labor-intensive dish — yes, you do have to stand over the stove and stir — but the results are well worth it. Best of all, you can flavor the risotto however you like.

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<a href="http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-lemon-risotto-story.html" target="_blank"> Recipe: Lemon risotto</a>
Recipe: Lemon risotto (Paul Morse / Los Angeles Times)

In the final steps, whisk in a little lemon juice and lemon zest with an egg yolk — the lemon really brightens the flavors while the yolk adds an extra layer of richness. Finish, of course, with Parmesan cheese. Because everything is better with cheese.

Top this hearty dish with toasted nuts and fried sage leaves.<br> <a href="http://recipes.latimes.com/recipe-winter-squash-risotto-with-walnuts-and-fried-sage-leaves/" target"_blank"> <b>Recipe: Winter squash risotto</b></a><br>
Top this hearty dish with toasted nuts and fried sage leaves.
Recipe: Winter squash risotto
(Los Angeles Times)

Creamy risotto is cooked with tender cubes of butternut squash, the colorful dish garnished with toasted walnuts and fried sage leaves. A perfect choice whether you're fixing a quick meal for the family or planning dinner for company.

Maybe the ultimate risotto? <br/> <a href="http://recipes.latimes.com/recipe-celestinos-wild-mushroom-risotto/" target=""> <strong>Recipe: Celestino's wild mushroom risotto</strong></a>
Maybe the ultimate risotto?
Recipe: Celestino's wild mushroom risotto (Los Angeles Times)

Wild mushrooms give this dish a wonderfully rich, earthy flavor.

Cut into pieces and stirred into a prosciutto-based risotto, sugar snap peas add a surprising crunch to what is really a souped-up risi e bisi.<br> <a href="http://recipes.latimes.com/recipe-risotto-with-sugar-snap-peas-and-prosciutto/" target"_blank"> <b>Recipe: Risotto with sugar snap peas and prosciutto</b></a><br>
Cut into pieces and stirred into a prosciutto-based risotto, sugar snap peas add a surprising crunch to what is really a souped-up risi e bisi.
Recipe: Risotto with sugar snap peas and prosciutto
(Los Angeles Times)

Add fresh sugar snap peas toward the end when making this risotto for fresh, bright flavor and added texture — the peas add a nice crunch to counter the softened rice.

<a href="http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fow-sos22-2009apr22-story.html" target="_blank"><strong>RISOTTO:</strong> Sunny-side up.</a>
RISOTTO: Sunny-side up. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

This velvety risotto incorporates the deep flavor of applewood-smoked bacon with arborio rice cooked to perfectly creamy consistency. Fresh chopped chives and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano lend bright color and subtle tang, and a fresh egg yolk is nestled into each hot portion right before serving for added richness.

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