Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Classic Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes.  It's so rich and velvety that you would think there was an absurd amount of heavy cream in it....but it's your lucky day, there's no fattening cream in sight.  The thing about risotto is that it needs to be cooked slowly to releases the starches from the rice.  This is where that creamy goodness comes from. Yep, the starch.  
This recipe is the classic version, except for the optional kale that I added at the very end.  I just felt like I wanted some extra greens, since I was having this as my main dinner dish.  Feel free to leave the kale out for an authentic risotto. If you're feeding a big family or want some divine leftovers, double the recipe!

Be sure to use arborio rice (AKA short grain, risotto).  If you don't want to use wine, feel free to simply use more chicken broth.  You probably don't see the normal can or carton of chicken broth in the pic below, because I use something else.  
See that yellow jar with the green lid?  That's Chicken flavored bouillon that you mix with boiling water to make chicken broth.  I use this for 2 reasons: (1) I takes up WAY less space in my tiny trailer pantry and (2) I mix it with WAY more water than it says in order to decrease the sodium content.

Bring your chicken broth to a boil. Once it boils, reduce to a low simmer to keep the broth hot.

While the broth is coming to a boil, prep everything (chop veggies, grate cheese, measure rice, etc).  Chefs call this "mise en place," which means that everything in place and ready to roll.

Heat your butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute onions until translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add mushrooms and garlic.  Cook until mushroom until tender and juice evaporate, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and allow it to toast for a few minutes.

Add the vino and allow it to fully reduce/ absorb in to the rice, about 2 more minutes.

Now dip a measuring cup into your hot broth and add about 1 cup of broth to the pan.  Simmer over medium-low heat until all the liquid is absorbed.  Repeat this process until all of the broth is used up

It's getting close...but not quite that creamy perfection I'm looking for.  Just take your time and allow each cup of broth to absorb, repeat.  Have a glass of wine and relax while the magic happens.

Almost there, it's getting creamy!

Ok, I used up all the broth.  Before the liquid fully absorbs, add peas.

**OPTIONAL If you're feeling extra crazy, chop up some greens.  I used kale, but spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, etc. would all work.

Add optional greens and parmesan cheese.  Give a little taste test and add salt and pepper as needed.

Pour another glass of vino and enjoy.

  • Classic Risotto (Makes 3-4 servings)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cups arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 cups kale, chopped (*OPTIONAL)

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Add mushrooms, saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes. Stir in the peas. Mix in the  parmesan and *greens. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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