Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Revelry and Risotto

Risotto always seems to be served in fancy restaurants and has a reputation for being time consuming (so much stirring!) however it’s actually fairly easy. I followed Jamie Oliver’s suggestions for the most part: Jamie Oliver Risotto except omitted the celery and added flat-leafed parsley.

Below is my risotto at the sauté stage. Jamie suggests 15 minutes of sauté fun. The second time I tried the recipe however I cut it down to “sauté until ingredients are soft” (only about 5 minutes) and the risotto turned out just as well. I added the Cilantro / Chinese Parsley / Coriander closer to the end since it’s more delicate than the onions and garlic.

Next you add the rice and stir it in for a few minutes until the edges look transparent. The first time I tried risotto I overlooked the word “edges” and was waiting for about 15 minutes too long for the entire grains of rice to look transparent. It never happened; I got impatient and added the wine. It turned out the same either way.

Next comes the never-ending stirring. The first time I made it I added the broth very slowly and stirred it almost constantly. The second time I made it I added broth about a cup at a time and stirred for a bit after each pour. Each way worked fine. The purpose of the stirring is to massage the starch out of the very-starchy Arborio rice - constant stirring, however, isn’t necessary. I tried the recipe with vegetable broth, chicken broth and a cheap bouillon cube. Each method worked just as well so I suggest the bouillon cube since it’s about a 10th of the price - unless there’s something I don’t know about bouillon cubes? Here’s the only Arborio rice I could find at the (extremely-expensive-practically-on-campus) grocery store:

So the moral of the story is you don’t have to treat risotto nearly as delicately as recipes suggest! Also be creative - add whatever you want to the vegetable stage - I tried spinach and arugula once and then cilantro and shallots and both worked great. Here it is topped with freshly grated Parmesan served with Chicken Marbella. You can even see my cute Charlie Brown Christmas Tree in the background!

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