Monday, July 27, 2009
and then you stir it some more
Few foods are as comforting to me as risotto. It is comforting to eat and for me, I find it terrifically comforting to prepare. I know folks seem to carry of about how terribly difficult risotto is to make but I think that is to scare away any would be future risotto chefs from discovering the immense pleasure of eating homemade risotto. I think they want you to spend 25 bucks a plate for it at the local Italian bistro!
The secret to making really good risotto is to add the liquid slowly and stir it continuously. Yes, continuously. The jar of arborio rice from which I prepared the pictured risotto called for it to cook for 30 minutes and to have 3 cups of liquid added to 1 cup of rice. My cooking time was closer to 45 minutes and I added closer to 8 cups of liquid. I needed substantially more liquid since I had other items in there besides the rice... like mushrooms, shallots, etc. Much like when you make chicken and rice, it requires much more liquid than the normal liquid to rice ratio of 2 to 1. Same idea here.
I do not recommend trying to saute or boil something while stirring the risotto. I prepared a roast in the oven to accompany this since it really did not require any attention from me. I wanted to give the risotto my full attention. The results are well worth the effort.
8 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound fresh white and crimini mushrooms, sliced, set aside about 1 cup of these
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, divided
Salt and pepper
1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
1 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Pour 1 cup of the hot chicken broth over the dried porcinni mushroom. Let stand for about 30 minutes, and drain reserving the liquid.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms (fresh and dried, reserving about a cup of the fresh mushrooms), and herbs. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated. Stir in the reserved mushroom liquid. Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be creamy, but not mushy at all. Like rice pudding. Stir in Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of butter.
In a separate pan, saute the reserved mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter and add them at the end when the risotto is cooked. This gives multiple layers of mushrooms through the dish.
Enjoy this with beef or roast chicken or all by itself.