Sunday, June 19, 2011

Basic Risotto (with Mushroom or Chard name it!)

I am posting this basic risotto recipe since, as the growing season moves forward, risotto is a wonderful base to bring out the flavor of fresh herbs and vegetables.  It takes a bit of time to make and you need to stand at the stove for at least 30 minutes, but it is worth it. There seems to be a ton of risotto recipes out there but I thought I would give you the basic recipe and then you could play around with sauces and improvise with different vegetables and meats. Once you get down the technique to make a rich and creamy risotto, you will want to experiment each time you get a new fresh ingredient at the farmers market and don't know what to do with it. Sometimes, just a simple risotto with a new special cheese warms you on cold day.  And don't forget to use those leftovers. Since we are only a family of three, every time we cook, we have leftovers. Look for the later posts on how to use leftover risotto (think of your own homemade veggie burgers here).


5-7 cups stock (homemade of coarse)
2 tbl olive oil
2 shallots, diced or 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Redmond sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper
2 tbl butter or olive oil (depending on type of risotto made)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1.  In saucepan, heat the stock to a simmer. Cover and keep hot over low heat.
2. In large 3-4 quart frying pan, place 1/4 cup oil, onions and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook the onions slowly over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes or until they are a golden color. Turn the heat down if the onions begin to brown. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, stir well and cook over low-medium heat for another 5-10 minutes. Cook all the stock away.
2. Add the rice and stir constantly with the onions over medium heat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the rice grains are toasted but have not turned color. Add the wine all at once, stir and cook for additional 2-3 minutes. Continue to stir constantly until all the wine has evaporated.
3. Now starts the addition of the stock.  Add 1 cup of very hot stock to start, 1/2 tsp of salt and continue to stir continuously. The stock should initially barely cover the rice. Continue to stir frequently. The rice and liquid should be gently bubbling. Once all the stock has been absorbed, add an additional 1 cup of stock and continue to stir with about 3-6 minutes between addition of more stock.
4. After addition of at least 5 cups of stock, taste the degree of doneness of the rice kernels. They should be al-dente and the risotto creamy. This is the point at which you can add in your vegetables, meat, sauce, etc.
5. Add additional 2 tbl of olive oil or butter and 1/2 cup freshly grated cheese to finish.


-Mushrooms:  Using one to two pounds sliced fresh mushrooms (we used chanterelle and button). Heat 2tbl olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add these to the risotto in step number 4.  Mushroom risotto should be finished with 2 tbl butter to bring out the best flavor of the mushrooms.
-Garlic: okay, so I like garlic in everything but you can add 3 cloves of minced garlic to the onions in step #2.

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