Risotto is great! With a creamy texture and blank palate, I consider it one of the greatest "bases" out there. Couscous will absorb flavors the way risotto does, but because of the slow cooking method, risotto is always creamy (without actually having cream), which most people find extremely palatable. We literally throw anything into our risottos we have in the fridge.
Try carrying flavors from your main ingredient into the risotto to make it the perfect side dish. This is basically what we did for this one, but it was so phenom it could def stand up on it's own main course. We served this with our Arugula Swordfish.
Another great thing (this is my last rand about risotto, I swear!) is that after about 3 times cooking it, you don't even need measurements. You basically saute onions, then add the risotto and saute that as well until brown, then slowly add liquid (juuuust enough to cover risotto) until it becomes creamy. You can't really over cook risotto, so start it at the beginning of every meal.
1 C risotto
~3 C stock + water (1 1/2 C each)
** Parmesan rind
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 TBSP lemon zest
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
Red pepper flakes
Saute the onion in oil over medium heat until just tender. Add in the dry risotto and garlic and saute these until golden brown. Add just enough stock to cover the risotto. Add all the other ingredients except the parsley. Once the liquid has almost 100% evaporated, add just enough more to cover the risotto. Continue this process (using as much or as little liquid as needed) until your risotto is creamy.
** Adding a parmesan rind to soups, stocks, rices, etc is a fantastic way to get great salty creamy flavor to a dish! Also, I despise wasting shtuff, so this is perfect. The rind of parmesan is totally natural and not plastic... Do not EVER throw these away again! Promise? Good!