Risotto is one of those exceedingly flexible dishes. Now, I haven’t read Ratio by Michael Ruhlman, but I’m guessing that risotto would be in there.
The basics are simple, the adaptations are infinite. Let me rewrite the ingredient list a little differently:
3/4 cup arborio rice
½ cup aromatics
1/4 cup alcohol
3 cups liquid
1/3 cup grated or crumbled cheese
4 tbs. whole butter
lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
Depending on the “garnish” you put in your rice, whether it’s shrimp, mushrooms or duck confit, you can adapt the other ingredients to fit. For example, the aromatics can be onions, shallots, garlic or any combination. The alcohol could be cognac (for shrimp), sherry (for mushrooms) or red wine for beets. The cheese could be Parmesan, goat or smoked Gouda. And for the liquid – any combination of water, chicken, lobster of vegetable stock. Heck, you could use apple juice if you wanted…. Though I wouldn’t recommend it.
Here are some ideas: