Showing posts with label Risotto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Risotto. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Record Lows - Risotto

People in the Bay Area are feeling gypped right now. It's the end of July, practically August, and yet, the weather has been stubbornly hovering between a frosty 50-65 for the past couple weeks and the fog is constant. "Record lows," are the words falling out of every meteorologist's mouth.

It's a strange state of affairs when you're looking forward to leaving freezing California for warm and sunny Oregon.

Even the tomatoes seem to have gone on strike due to the weather. The good ones are nowhere to be found. Stonefruit is here, but the weather calls for something you can curl up with, warm and comforting.

Risotto helps. But the only way I'll be ok with this weather is if the sun and high temperatures return soon and extend into November or so. And there's another reason for making it, an Arancini (fried risotto balls) recipe courtesy of Leah that's perfect for the leftovers. Stay tuned for that...and hopefully some decidedly more summery recipes.

Basic Risotto

6 cups chicken broth
2 cups white wine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups aborio rice
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
*note: you can also substitute a bit of water in the broth/wine mixture if you'd like

Bring the broth and wine to a simmer in a saucepan on a back burner. Keep broth warm over low heat while you're cooking the rice.

Heat the butter & olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains evenly, continue to cook for about a couple minutes more to toast the rice and then add about 1 cup of the hot broth. Simmer over medium to medium-low and stir often until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes or so. Continue to add about a cup of broth, stirring and letting it absorb until the rice is creamy and tender. The whole process should take less than half-an-hour, and you should have used 6-8 cups of the broth. Season with salt & pepper to taste and serve hot, right away.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ease Into It - Brown Butter Risotto with Sherry & Poached Shrimp

In the span of five days, I went from Maui's 90 degree temperatures, warm blue waters and white sandy beaches with palm trees, to the 30 degree snowy slopes of Squaw Valley in Tahoe. Life is feeling very full at the moment.

And as I always say, the best way to ease out of one vacation is to throw yourself into another. I have no problem doing that with gusto.

The problem is, now I'm out of planned vacations for awhile, with nothing to tide me over. That is not an enjoyable feeling. I think I'm going to have to come up with an affordable idea or two. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to summer.

Here's a confession: spring is probably my least favorite season. Oh, I know it's when things are blooming, starting to come out of the ground, everything has a fresh taste and smell to it. It's lovely, but it's just not summer. I'm looking forward to a hot sun; swimming, windows open and down, summer tomatoes, peaches and berries. I can't wait!

But, in the meantime, there's still enough chill in the air for cozy dishes like risotto.

My fridge looked pretty bare when I came back from Hawaii, and seeing how I was leaving again so quickly, I thought the thing to do would be to rummage through the pantry to come up with a quick dinner. I had Arborio rice, sherry, an onion, chicken stock, butter, frozen shrimp and some Parmesan. Great for a basic risotto, but how to make it even better? So easy. Can't believe I'd never thought about it before. I simply browned the butter. It lent a wonderfully nutty flavor. A great way to add a bit of flare to an totally simple dish.

Brown Butter Risotto with Sherry and Poached Shrimp

8 frozen shrimp
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
chives for garnish (optional)

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Keep hot over low heat. After the risotto has been cooking for about 10 minutes, add the shrimp to the remaining broth and poach until shrimp is cooked through. Remove from the broth with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook until the butter begins to foam and then turns brown, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the sherry and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of stock to absorb before adding the next. Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with shrimp and garnish with chives