Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Thing #117--Stir it Well

I have cooked almost everything, and rarely use a recipe any more. One of the things that I've never made, because I've heard it's really difficult, is risotto. That changed today, when I cooked and served mushroom risotto for dinner.

On April 25th, I resolved to eat lower on the food chain (See Thing #105). When I did the grocery shopping last week I did part of it at a different store, in an effort to find more healthy foods. I saw Arborio rice on the shelf with all the other grains, so I purchased it and brought it home. The directions on the rice package didn't sound too hard or time consuming; I didn't know what all the fuss about the dish was. When I Googled the recipe, the fuss made a little more sense. My recipe seemed to be a "lite" version, unlike the "classic" version I'd heard about. It didn't call for as many incremental broth additions, or the constant stirring of the classic recipe.

I decided to go with the package recipe. I had everything I needed in the house, except for the white wine. I usually don't make special trips to the store for ingredients, but decided to make an exception this time and follow the recipe to a T to make sure it turned out right. (Note: In the end I added an unauthorized clove of garlic and a bit of celery for extra flavor, and a handful of parsley at the end. I just couldn't help myself.)

This is the recipe I used:
12 oz. Arborio rice
4 cups heated stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef)
1 chopped onion
2 T. butter
Parmesan or other grated cheese
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped and sauteed
4 oz. dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion in butter till golden. Add the rice and stir until well-coated and translucent

Add the wine and cook till evaporated. Stir in 1 cup of stock and simmer gently. When the stock has been absorbed, add another cup, and continue in this way through the 18-20 minutes of cooking time.

Stir in the cheese and mushrooms. Salt to taste. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 2 minutes before serving.
The hardest part about making this dish was the timing. I never know exactly when I'll serve dinner--it's anywhere from 5:45 till 6:30, or whenever everyone's home. I didn't want the rice to sit around before we ate it, so I sauteed the onions, garlic, and celery in a pan (and the mushrooms in another), warmed the wine and the broth, and waited for Tony to call to say he was on his way. That gave me 30 minutes to get dinner ready. I was finishing up when he walked in. We poured drinks, set the table, and ate.

The risotto was delicious. I'm already looking forward to my leftovers tomorrow!

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