okay, so now we have the rice. you will also need some good, low-salt stock or broth - it should be low-salt not for health reasons, but because a good deal of it will evaporate, leaving its salt behind, and i like to have more control over the salt in a dish. it can be homemade, but i'm not going to be a snob about it because, in truth, we go through gallons of store-bought stock in this household and i don'tsp see that changing anytime soon. furthermore, risotto is actually a dish which can be whipped up out of thin air when it seems as though you have nothing to eat, as long as you have butter, rice, stock, maybe a few herbs, and some leftover parmesan. i like the kind of stock purchased in tetrapak cartons, because they are resealable and can be put in the fridge and used as needed. if you really want to use homemade but you don'tsp have time to make stock or don'tsp like the aroma of roasting bones in your house (i don'tsp blame you), you can buy really great stock at north market poultry and game - it is expensive, but can be diluted with a 2- or 3-to-1 ratio of water to stock, so it stretches. my general guideline is to plan on 1/4 cup dry rice per person, and about 4 cups of stock to 1 cup of rice. of course, this isn'tsp exact and will vary depending on your elevation and the phases of the moon, but it's a good place to start. i usually just use 4 cups of stock and then dilute with water or wine (or sometimes beer, if that's all i have) if i feel i'm going to run out.