Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Sorry this post was a little delayed!  I have the winter time blues because we have gotten a million inches of snow and I just couldn't get into it. So here you go, hope you like it!

Growing up in an Irish family the go to starch at most meals was some form of potato. Of course! Yea, we had boxed rice pilaf once in awhile but I was not a fan of that at all so for a good long time I just figured that I wouldn't like any rice. Well it took awhile but I found out but I was wrong. I love rice, even if my go to starch is still a spud.  Sorry, I can't fight DNA.  

About a year ago I decided to tackle risotto. I had heard a lot of talk about how difficult it is to make. I did not find it difficult at all, you just have to be patient. I think a lot of people just want instant gratification so the little extra time this dish takes makes them think it is difficult.

The recipe I use came from Joy of Cooking. This is my bible, I use it constantly. It is so splattered and battered from overuse. I just love it. Ok sorry, back to the recipe. All risotto recipes call for some wine. I never use it. I never have wine in the house. I just use some extra broth to compensate. Someday I will buy a bottle of wine just to see what the difference is with it versus mine without it.

Here is the recipe as it reads in Joy of Cooking (I usually halve this because it is only me and Mr. Lucky):

 2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups Italian rice or American medium-grain rice (I use Aborio)
Ignore the dirty counter!

1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp butter
2/3 to 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, over low heat until soft and translucent but not browned. Meanwhile, simmer the chicken stock over medium heat.

Increase the heat under the onions and stir in the rice. Using broad strokes, stir the rice until it looks chalky and you can see a white dot in the center of each grain, about 3 minutes. (This sounds weird but when you see it you'll know)
You can't really see the white dot.

Stir in the wine and stir to prevent sticking as it is absorbed by the rice.  Then start stirring in the stock, 1 cup at a time.  Each cup must be absorbed before the next is added. Stir the risotto continuously to keep it from sticking.  When 6 cups of stock have been absorbed, add the stock 1/2 cup at a time and start tasting the rice. It should be tender but still a little firm to the bite, never mushy. 

Take the rice off the heat when the rice still has a little more resistance that you would like and fold in the butter and the Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let the risotto stand for a moment or two.  Spoon into warmed soup dishes and serve immediately. 

This risotto is really delicious as is but I have added all kinds of things: veggies, chicken, even steak.  This time I added some sauteed mushrooms and it was great.  I stir these additions in right before serving. 

Here are some risotto tips from Joy of Cooking:
  • Use a large, heavy saucepan and never cover the cooking risotto.  Anticipate about 20 minutes of cooking time
  • Use a medium-grain rice, never long-grain.  First choices are Italian imports, always "superfino" grade - Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, Roma or Balso.  Second choice is American medium-grain rice.
  • Add small quantities of simmering stock to the risotto and stir almost constantly.
  • At the end of coking, the rice should be creamy in consistency and tender to the taste but still have a little "bite". Let the risotto stand off the heat for a few minutes before serving. 
Please try this out if you like rice or are looking for a new side dish or whatever, just try it!  You'll like it. 


Chelle said...

So, rissotto doesn't sound as scary as I thought it would be, lol. However, I don't know if I have the patience to stir it for 20 minutes, haha!

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