Friday, December 10, 2010

Risotto - a technique

Cooking risotto is as much a technique as it is a recipe. There are dozens and dozens of ways I have made risotto over the years and tonight's was something new. However, the technique really doesn't vary.

I was having the grandchildren over for dinner and their mom was getting some time for her dance lessons. Yes, she has started to do ballet again, but that is another story.

Of course for them it had to be vegetarian in nature, and that is fine with me. Veggie dinners don't hurt ... besides, I had a bit of stir fry pork left in the fridge if I decide I'm needing that kind of protein later tonight. For this risotto, I roasted a butternut squash (cut in half, sprinkle with cumin, put in a baking dish, covered in foil, cooked at 400* for 40 minutes). While that was in the oven, I diced a good sized shallot and a single clove of garlic. In a large pot on the stove at a medium temperature, I melted some butter along with some EVO, added the shallot and garlic and let it cook softly for a few minutes. I then added a couple of cups of arborio rice - that is risotto rice - to the pot and stirred gently for about 5 minutes, allowing it to get coated with the butter/oil and turning translucent. When it was ready for the liquid I added about a half cup of white wine and stirred it to allow the wine to be absorbed. I neglected to say that I had a litre of organic vegetable stock (Pacific) simmering on the back burner.

The real trick with risotto is to add the liquid a bit at a time ... I have a small soup ladle that works well for this. A bit of liquid, stir until absorbed, a bit of liquid, stir until absorbed, etc. etc. for about 25 minutes. As it gets creamier and creamier, you will want to test for doneness (just as al dente is coming to a close). Somewhere in the middle of the addition of the stock, I added the orange juice from cooking the squash, and the squash was cooling. It took a minute or so to cut the skin off the squash, dice it roughly, and when I was happy with the consistency of the rice, I added the squash, some cilantro, a bit more butter, and some parmesan cheese to the pot, giving the whole thing a final stirring. Serving fresh upon completion with some more cheese, salt and pepper is necessary. Though Chelsea got home from dance later and well after we had eaten, she did devour a bowl, saying it was just fine reheated.

I hope you enjoy making risotto ... it is very easy to make and the hardest part is sticking with the constant stirring for about a half hour. Kind of like making my dad's fudge recipe... but, that is another story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just love risotto. I never would thought to try cumin in a risotto dish. Might just have to give that a try!