This is the most amazing, buttery risotto ever. The creamy rice and chicken stock and cheese create, in your mouth, an elegant soireé. The type with sterling silver candlestick holders and Chet Baker pulsing through hidden Bose speakers. Except that the risotto is much easier than the result would make you think. The preparation is more a BYOB pizza throwdown than cook all day dinner party.
Please welcome guest poster, Joel Niemeyer. He created this delicious concoction, and then fed us some. Yum!
Creamy, cheesy, and rich! That is what risotto is to me. Sometimes it's hard to believe that it's even a kind of rice, but it is. It's also really hard and expensive to make, right? Actually, no, not at all. The fact is that you can make as good a risotto at home as you would pay $16.00 for at a restaurant, if you can even find a restaurant that has it. There is some patience involved, and you do have to pay attention, but it's not hard at all.
A basic risotto can also be enhanced with a variety of flavors and additions--once you know the basics, you can make many different kinds. I like my risotto with a real onion and wine taste, so I go pretty heavy on those ingredients.
Rating: 3/4 assed
Here's what you need and how you do it
A cup or two of Arborio Rice. You don't have to get a fancy, expensive brand. I use Lundberg brand that you can find at most grocery stores.
1 whole Shallot, finely minced
Fresh Garlic, two or three cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup or so of Parmesan Cheese –- finely grated. Use Parmigiano Reggiano if you can. By far the most expensive part of this recipe, but you don't need too much. Any good qualify parm will do, though-- just not the stuff in the green can
3/4 cup or so dry White Wine
2 Tablespoons Butter-- cold and cubed
At least a quart of Chicken Stock-- hot. Of course, homemade is better, but you can go with a good quality low sodium canned one
And here's the method. Don't get too caught up in the details, but just pay attention--you don't want to burn the rice, let it get too dry, or cook it too much:
Heat up some nice olive oil in a nicely sized saucepan on about Medium High. Sauté up the shallots and garlic--don't brown them, though. When you can really smell the shallots and garlic, toss in the rice and stir that all up for a minute or two--the idea is to just get that oil and shallots coated on to the rice. When the rice is well coated, add the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed and the rice has a dry feeling to it again. At this point you should be getting the full on aroma of the shallots, garlic, and wine!
Start adding the stock about a 1/2 of one ladle at a time. The measurement isn't important- just whatver soup ladle or cup you have laying around. When you add the stock, start to really stir it vigorously. Start adding stock 1/2 cup at a time. Each time you add some stock, let it get absorbed by the rice. Continue this until the rice starts to get done--it will take a good twenty minutes of constant stirring and adding stock. Cheat and sneak a grain or two, just to test for doneness. You want it done, but not soft. As you are doing all this stirring, you'll notice a "creaminess" start to take place. This means you are doing a good job! Keep adding enough stock until it's a consistency and doneness you like
When you are at the point that the rice is done, take if off the heat and stir in the cold butter first, then the cheese. You shold get enough saltiness from the butter and cheese, but add salt to your taste. The consistency should be creamy, but not liquid, although make it the way you think it will be good! My kids love frozen peas thrown in right near the end.
Traditional thinking says that you can't really eat it any time after you've first made it, but I disagree. I refrigerate it and "reconstitute" it with chicken stock. While the rice may become a little more cooked than many would like, I find this is the time to really make something different with it by adding in: chicken, vegetables. Or make Risotto Cakes!
Have fun with this, and I hope you end up loving this dish as much as I do.