risotto for lovers
Okay, that’s a totally dumb title, but I couldn’t think of a better one. Really, more than anything, I’ve been low on blogging material the past few days, so as I was making risotto tonight, the light bulb went on. Aha!
Risotto is one of my favorite things to make. I’ve been trying to master it since college; I really like making it once the weather turns chilly. It’s warm and comforting, creamy, delicious. And thus, it’s the perfect meal for your man. 🙂 Nothing says love like cheese and rice. Or just cheese. Anyway, I’ve made it so many times now, it’s just second nature.
1 cup arborio rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
1 onion, chopped (or 2-3 pearl onions chopped)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
parmesan cheese to taste (optional – add as much as you want)
salt + pepper to taste
Ok, so here’s the thing. There’s a general misconception of risotto that it has to be made with cream to reach the desired creamy consistency. This is incorrect. Don’t get me wrong; a little cream never hurt any dish as far as I’m concerned. But risotto doesn’t have to be ridiculously bad for you a la fettucine alfredo to be delicious. Risotto is made with arborio rice, a specific grain that has a very starchy center. As it heats in the stock, the starch is released from the center, creating the creamy consistency. Thus, you’ve just avoided a boatload of calories and fat. I rarely order risotto in restaurants because they inevitably are made with heavy cream.
In a pan over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the arborio rice, coating all of the grains in the oil. If you are going to add any wine, this is the time to do it because the wine needs to burn off the alcohol. If you add it later, it will just absorb into the mixture.
This is where it gets time-consuming. Not difficult, just time-consuming. Start adding the chicken stock, about a cup at a time. You need to stir frequently as the stock absorbs into the rice. Continue to add stock until it is all absorbed. This will take approximately 18-20 minutes. Don’t let it get too stuck to the bottom of the pan; you really need to stir frequently. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add whatever else into the mixture that you would prefer. I like to add a lot of parmesan cheese, although this is not entirely necessary. You will still have a lot of flavor from the chicken stock (any rice is more flavorful when made with stock). I also stirred in some sauteed chicken tonight, and topped with broccoli.
Most people are scared at the thought of making risotto. They view it as high-maintenance and involved, but it really doesn’t have to be. It’s a crowd pleaser every time. And it’s also a good base for whatever else you want to add into it. It’s good with a variety of vegetables, as well as chicken and shrimp. Tonight I made it with chicken and broccoli. Saffron is also a popular addition, although not my personal favorite.
So there you have it. Serve it up in a bowl and it’s ready to go. Easy yummy risotto. For lovers. Or just friends.
When you’re done, all you have left to do is the dishes! 🙂
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