Saturday, September 03, 2005

Current Favorite Comfort Food

A specialty of northern Italy, risotto has earned a place as a legendary Italian dish. Rich, creamy, and irrestible, it has become a favorite outside it's homeland as well. Because risotto can be embellished with any number of savory ingredients, from a wide variety of cheeses, vegetables, meats, and seafood as well as sweet additions such as dried fruit and chocolate, it will quickly become one of the most versatile and well-loved dishes in your cooking repertoire.

--Williams Sonoma Risotto book

I love it. LOVE It. A bowl of simple risotto will fill me up and make me feel better than most other foods. If I could get away with making it on a daily basis, I would. I hope you will give it a try and add it into your recipe book.

That said, risotto is a finicky temptress. She likes to have everything her way, all the time. Risotto isn't going to reheat very well. She won't hold out for a long time. Basically, make what you're going to eat and deal with it. Make sure you time your cooking just so, you want the risotto to be ready for the plate when everything else is ready.

Here is what I do to make basic risotto...I've stopped using a recipe, so most of my measurements are estimates.

1 cup of Arborio rice
5-6 cups of stock (veggie or chicken), kept hot in a separate pot.
1 small/medium onion, finely diced
2-3 TB olive oil
1 cup of real, top of the line Parmigiano Reggiano, DON'T use the green kraft substitutes please.
Chopped fresh parsley-optional, or other favorite fresh herbs
bite size pieces of par-boiled/cooked fresh veg (asparagus, green beans, peas or mushrooms)

In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Sweat the onion until translucent and tender, about five minutes.

Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat with the oil. Give the rice about a minute. Then add one cup of stock.

For about the next 18-25 minutes you will be repeating this process...add the stock, stir slowly to incorporate, simmer, as the stock cooks into the rice and evaporates, add another cup, repeat.

At about 15 minutes, really start to watch the rice. You will notice the rice grains get all fat and tender. Take a small taste, like pasta, you want an al dente bite to it. Sometimes I run out of stock before my rice is cooked completely. At this point, I'll add water, just to get it tender. No real flavor will be lost, as you've already used several cups of stock.

When you rice is cooked to the proper tenderness, remove from the heat and add in about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the grated parmesan. Stir to incorporate, it will melt and get all gooey. If you want to add any herbs, toss in now. This is also the time to stir in any veg you want to add.

Serve immediately.

As I said, this is my recipe. Later this fall, I'll post the infamous Pumpkin Risotto recipe I have. If I have had one dish requested more than any other, it's pumpkin risotto....I'm just saying!

Good luck and please do try this!!! I've had restaurant risotto once, it was good....but having your own is such a pleasure!

1 comment:

Stef said...

I don't think I've ever had your pumpkin risotto! But Design Cuisine does this fantastic corn risotto that we always have whenever we use them as caterers. I dream about it at night, it's that freakin' good!