Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Risotto - Easier than you think!

Finished Product (not a glam food,
but a good food!)
I remember the first time I made risotto. I was completely daunted by the task at hand - after seeing so many episodes of top chef where risotto goes horribly, horribly wrong, I was convinced that it must be difficult.  However, I just adore the dish, so I did some research online and finally came up with a good and easy to follow risotto recipe.

I'm not kidding folks - this is SUPER easy.  Almost fail proof.  However, it is a bit time consuming.  So, if you want to make a dish that sounds impressive and tastes a-mazing, then I hope you give this a try.  I used asparagus today, but you can really add anything you like in the final stage - sauteed wild mushrooms, browned sausage, roasted butternut squash... the possibilities are endless!

Roasted Asparagus Risotto with Sage
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock (Swanson's stock works great)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • one bunch asparagus
  • Dried crumbled sage
  • Ground nutmeg
  • S&P
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

Start off by combining the wine and chicken stock in a small stock pan. Cover and put over medium heat.  You don't want it to boil, but you want it to be nice and hot.  Keep it covered so it doesn't evaporate, you need all that liquid. Once its simmering, turn it down to low to keep hot.

Red Onions so you can see them.
Don't let anything brown!
In a enamelware cast-iron skillet (Le Creusset is my choice), or just a non-stick high walled sauté pan, saute your minced onion in the 4 T of butter.  Add a few cranks of S&P, as well as a scant T of dried sage.  Saute over medium heat until translucent (about 5-6 minutes).  Do NOT let it brown.  If it starts to color, turn your heat down.

Next, add your Arborio rice.  It is very important that you use Arborio rice, any other kind won't come out the right way.  Saute this with the butter and onions until the edges of the rice start to look translucent, approximately another 5-6 minutes.

Rice covered with wine/stock mixture
Next, add the hot wine/stock mixture until it just covers the rice.  Stir well, and keep stirring periodically until the liquid is absorbed.  When the liquid is absorbed, add more of the wine/stock mixture until it just covers the rice.  Stir well, and again... keep stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Do not cover the pan of rice, unlike cooking normal rice, you rely on the evaporation of the liquid along with the absorption. Just keep on stirring, and continue this process until all of the liquid is used up and absorbed.

Roasted to perfection - not brown &
mushy, bright green & tender!
While the rice is cooking, roast your asparagus.  I took the tender spears and some of the stalk and chopped them into bite size pieces.  Drizzle with a little EVOO and sprinkle with S&P.  Roast under the broiler in a pyrex dish until the color intensifies and they get a bit tender.  Set aside.

Once your rice has absorbed all of the liquid,  add 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and the asparagus to the rice.  Mix well, and taste for seasoning and need be, add some more S&P.  Voila - you have Risotto!  If for some reason your rice is at all crunchy, just cover for 5 minutes.  Then stir well again. Serve hot.

It's that easy.  I hope you give it try.  This is a great meal for the fall (albeit, asparagus is not season in the fall... give it a whirl with roasted butternut squash - delish!!)

And if you want to try something else...
Fresh figs - in season now!
Check out my friend Jeanette's blog for an awesome recipe for almond-fig-brown rice risotto!  Make sure to check this blog often as Jeanette is always posting awesome recipes!!

Off the Cuff Cooking

1 comment:

  1. See, I think your risotto was far more 'authentic' than mine-- I had no arborio which is of course the critical ingredient. I should probably not call it a risotto, but I didn't know if it was a 'pilaf' either. What the heck is the technical definition of pilaf, anyway?

    Maybe I should google all this! :)