Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Procrastination Recipe: Risotto

How have I never posted about risotto before? Apologies. I don't know how it slipped my mind.

Risotto is another easy meal that will wow your guests. It just takes a little time and concentration. Also, you can dress it up however you like - with mushrooms, peas, asparagus, tomatoes, roasted eggplant, etc. It's all about how you want to make it. For Molly's annual Oscar party I went with tomato and Fontina as my additions.

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carton veggie stock
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup white wine
salt to taste

Before you get started you want to heat your vegetable stock in a separate pan on low so that it simmers. The reason you do this is so it's the same temperature as your main pot. Otherwise, every time you add stock it would lower the temp of the risotto and you don't want to do that. 

In your main pan (I would use something relatively deep as 1.5 cups of rice turns into about 3 cups of risotto) melt the butter and saute the onion until translucent.

Next, add in your rice. Stir well so that each grain of rice is coated by the butter. I can't remember why this is important but I know it was mentioned in the class I took. Just know that it's important. I cooked the rice like this, stirring constantly for maybe two minutes then added in the wine.

Why it's important to stir constantly: stirring cooking rice causes starch to be released. When you make regular rice you let it cook untouched and then lightly fluff so as not to release the starch. But guess what? Releasing the starch is what make risotto appear as creamy. So stir, stir, stir.

Once the wine has been absorbed you can add in about a cup of stock at a time. Stir throughout which will help the starch release but also help the rice absorb the stock. This process, absorbing all of the stock, takes about a half hour so set up shop in the kitchen because this isn't something to walk away from. Luckily for me, Molly has a tv in her kitchen so I can watch while I cook. 

As you cook you also want to gradually add salt. To do this just dip a spoon into the risotto (you don't want to lift any rice out until the end when it's no longer crunchy) and see what the liquid tastes like. I added maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of salt at a time. You do this throughout the making of risotto so the rice absorbs the salt into it. As a rule, always err on the side of caution with salt because you can add more but you can't subtract if you overpour. Over the course of the risotto I probably added a half Tablespoon of salt AT MOST. It didn't need more than that.

You want to cook the rice until it's softened although keeping it a little al dente is fine, totally personal preference. Then stir in whatever your additions are. I went with 4 diced tomatoes and a block of Fontina cheese (because it melts well). 

Serve warm and enjoy! (This recipe served 7.)

Happy eating!!


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