I am afraid that my tiny brain is still oatmeal after this latest Lifesavers mission. I have a ton of work to do, but I honestly have zero energy. So instead, I’ll talk about food. (The irony of writing a food post about one food while ANOTHER TYPE of food simmers on my stove is not at all lost on me.) (I didn’t photograph what I am currently cooking, and it’s frankly entirely too simple and I prefer to keep my bean and kale soup a bit of a mystery. Plus, ask an Italian mama. I make mine with store brand bacon. The knowledge of which would probably cause her quite a bit of distress.) Have I blogged about risotto before? If so, please quietly let me believe I have not.
Today, the dreaded risotto. (At least, I thought there was no way I could make it, until I tried it. So easy.) I made my risotto pictured below with frozen peas, but think of the risotto as a blank canvas. Shrimp, asparagus, heck-carrots? The world is your oyster. (I doubt that oyster would go in risotto…but alongside???? Oh yes ma’am.) I tried a butternut squash one time, and while others love it, I just don’t get it. But if you do want to do a squash or gourd type addition, please be sure that you cook (I roast them if the temperature ever gets below 300 degrees outside.) it first. If you throw chunks of raw butternut in there while the risotto cooks? It will never ever never get done.
So first thing, you take your risotto pan and put a bit of the light olive oil in the bottom of it (higher smoke point). And a pat of butter (flavor).
You wil note that this is not an actual risotto pan, because the sides aren’t sloped. My risotto pan died in Lifesavers School and I’ve been too busy paying other bills to purchase another one. But it’s a shallow pan with a large opening. This is key because it will help the evaporation and turn our risotto into creamy goodness.
Chop some onion.
Because you forgot to get shallots at the store. (Note-shallots are NOT THE SAME THING as scallions. Go ahead. Google if you don’t believe me.)
Throw that into the pan, along with the dry risotto. (Arborio rice, Caranoli rice, and then this was a new one that I found at the store, and my it was tasty except I have no more and don’t remember the name.)
Turn on your stove and stir till the onions start to burn (if you are preparing this on my state-of-the-art modern kitchen appliance) or the rice turns a light golden brown (if you are preparing this on a stove not sponsored by America’s Charcoal Industry.).
Meanwhile-you’re going to want to start this step earlier in your preparation-take a sauce pan, put some white wine in it (no clue how much. Maybe half a bottle? I use whatever white wine I happen to have left over on those days that we don’t finish the bottle.) and plenty of chicken broth. (You can use red wine and beef broth if you’re going to use mushrooms or something earthy, but I warn you, the red wine will turn your risotto a FUNKY shade of brown/red that I just don’t like to see on my plate. Beef broth and white wine is fine for mushrooms, too. Chicken broth is fine for mushrooms, too.) Put the pan on the stove, turn the burner on.
You want to keep this at a slow simmer while you are cooking your risotto.
After the risotto is charred or golden brown, you start adding the broth/wine one ladle full at a time. Add, then stir. When that’s almost evaporated, add another. Keep doing so. You don’t have to stir it ALL the time, particularly in the early stages, but you need to stir it VERY frequently. And after the early stages, you need to stir nearly constantly. Something about releasing starches to turn this into creamy goodness. Keep refreshing the broth/wine mixture as needed to have enough liquid.
There is an old myth that you must use a wooden spoon to stir risotto. Who am I to argue?
Eventually, it will start to look done. You can start taste testing at this point. (Yay!)
When it’s done (I like a done-er risotto than the Italian version. I’m not Italian so this is not a betrayal of my heritage. The real Italian version has a “bite” to it in the middle of the rice kernel.), you can add your peas.
Stir. I like to give them a few minutes to get done, though cookbooks swear they are done when they are stirred in. After that, a pat of butter for creaminess.
And then we add…the cheese…grated parm.
Stir, TURN OFF THE HEAT (don’t ask me how I know this), dish up, and enjoy!
Have a groovy day,