Archive | 4:13 PM

Fantastic For Friends: Basic Risotto

5 Mar

I am very lucky in that I have friends who I love, who love to eat.  They are fun to cook for and even more fun to enjoy a meal with.  I’m also lucky (and flattered!) that they think I’m a good cook.  They’re actually impressed (trust me, few people are ever impressed with what I’m doing).  What’s important to note here is that there are a few recipes in my bag of tricks that I go back to again and again, so they’ve been perfected over the years.  And once you’ve mastered the basic to do’s, you can add delicious things like your favorite veggies or proteins.  I’ve made risotto easily a hundred times using T’s recipe, which is foolproof (so get cooking, fools!).

BASIC RISOTTO (Serves 4)
2T butter
1T olive oil
1/2 large white onion, diced (or a small yellow onion)
2 cloves garlic (more or less, depending on what you like)
1C arborio rice
1/4C dry white wine
5C (one box if store-bought) low-sodium chicken broth, heated to a simmer in a separate pot
1/2C grated Parmesan cheese

Heat one tablespoon butter and olive oil in saucepan over low heat and saute onion until soft and translucent, about five minutes.  Add rice and stir until it is well-coated with butter and oil and slightly toasted.  Add wine and cook until almost evaporated.

Add hot chicken broth in approximately three or four installments, only adding once the previous addition is absorbed.  Cook over medium heat, uncovered, and stir now and then.  The risotto is ready when the rice is creamy but firm.  Turn off heat, adding remaining one tablespoon of butter and grated cheese.  Serve immediately with extra cheese for grating on top.

NOTE: Even though it is NOT traditional to mix seafood and cheese, during the final stock addition, I add 1/2lb. sea scallops and 1/2lb. medium peeled shrimp (tails removed).  I also commit a culinary sin by not cooking the fish separately and adding it at the end when serving the rice.  Cook it all together!  It’s easier and only takes a few minutes (so as not to overcook the seafood).  It also involves less pans to clean, and tastes just fine.  I’ve never heard any complaints.  And the seafood makes you seem fancy to all of your guests.

This is probably too monochromatic-- if you're feeling really luxurious, add a little chopped flat-leaf parsley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t tell you the number of people I talk to who say risotto seems intimidating.  While it does take a time commitment (about an hour of active chopping, stirring and plating), it’s so relaxed and casual, it’s the perfect time to perch your pals on kitchen chairs and get the latest dirt over the wine you already had to open to cook the rice.  Just don’t be surprised after you make it the first time, you’ll get the request again and again.  Mangia!