The first time I had risotto… I’ll never forget it. My husband and I had spent the day in the company of some dear friends; who, at the time, knew a lot more about food than we did… So, when they recommended a restaurant for dinner I was more than happy to follow along in their foodie footsteps.
We ended up at a fancy bistro beneath a bookstore, and I found myself holding a chic menu full of words that I didn’t understand; adobo, du jour, anglaise, and béchamel. So, I fumbled around the menu for several minutes and ordered something with fish, that, luckily, came with a recommended side item.
When our food arrived at the table I found myself in a state of confusion… What in the world was I looking at? Was it weird mashed potatoes? Was it lumpy rice? Was I suppose to use a spoon or a fork? I was truly perplexed… Then my friend said; “It’s risotto”, and I pretended I knew what was going on… But then I tried it, and culinary fireworks started going off. It was truly unbelievable.
And now, over a year later, I’m cooking it. So, I’m sharing 2 Risotto recipes with you; the first is a recipe for an Elegant Dinner Risotto (courtesy of the Pioneer Woman), and the second is a recipe for Deep Fried Risotto Leftovers!
The Elegant Stuff — INGREDIENTS:
2 cup Parmesan Cheese / Parmigiano Reggiano
1 medium White Onion
4 Garlic Cloves
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
2 cups Arborio Rice
6 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth, more as needed
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley, for garnish
You need to start by grating the Parmigiano Reggiano. Once the Risotto starts cooking you won’t be able to break away long enough to grate it… and please, please, PLEASE… 5,000 pleases… I beg of you… Use the real stuff and grate it yourself, please!
Next, finely dice 1/2 of a large white onion.
Peel about 4 cloves of garlic… and, again, please use the real stuff. Buy a bulb of garlic, break the cloves off, and peel them… This dish requires it!
Finely mince the garlic cloves.
Now, make sure you can be glued to the stove for the next 30-40 minutes, no joke, you can’t step away. Okay? Are you ready? Let’s do this! Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
Once the butter melts, add the onions and garlic to the skillet.
Allow the onion and garlic to sauté for a few minutes, stirring often, until the onion becomes translucent.
Now add the 2 cups of Arborio Rice.
The rice looks so small… but that will change, oh, that will change! Stir the rice into the onion/garlic mixture.
Now, here’s the game plan: We will add 1 cup of broth to the skillet, then stir constantly until the broth has absorbed into the rice, then we will add another cup of broth to the skillet, and stir constantly until the broth has absorbed into the rice, then we will add another cup of broth to the skillet, and… you get the picture, right? So, we’re going to end up adding 6 cups of chicken broth to the skillet ONE CUP OF BROTH AT A TIME. Let’s start with “Cup of Broth Number 1″…
Start stirring immediately, and don’t stop… Ever.
When it looks like the broth has been absorbed into the rice…
… add “Cup of Broth Number 2”.
Stir immediately and continuously…
… until the broth is absorbed.
Then, you guessed it, add “Cup of Broth Number 3″… and continue stirring, adding, absorbing, and repeating the exact same process with “Cup of Broth Number 4” and “Cup of Broth Number 5”.
*20 to 25 Minutes Later*
And we’re at “Cup of Broth Number 6”, finally! By now you should know what you’re doing…. Add the broth…
… and stir until it absorbs.
Now, taste a couple grains of the beautifully puffy rice. It should be soft, with a little bit of firmness, and a very pleasant texture (Contradictory, right? You’ll understand when you get there)… However, if it still has a hard bite you’ll want to keep going with the liquid/broth addition process. It simply needs to absorb more liquid. Some Arborios soften quicker than others.
Add some salt and pepper, to taste. Give the risotto a good stir, followed by a taste test, then adjust the seasonings accordingly. Note, I add a very minimal amount of pepper, and even less salt.
Add the 1/3 cup of heavy cream to the risotto, followed by another good stir, incorporating it completely.
Then add the grated cheese, followed by yet another good stir.
Beautiful, isn’t it? Give it a taste test; you deserve it!
Plate it, and garnish it with a little freshly chopped parsley…
The Deep Fried LEFTOVERS: Put the leftover risotto in a covered container and save it in the fridge overnight. Form the cold risotto into small balls or disks, bread them with flour, and deep-fry them in a cast iron skillet filled with oil. Continue below for photos…
Start by heating a cast iron skillet, filled with oil, over medium heat. You want enough oil to cover the risotto. Remove the risotto from the fridge and form it into small balls or disks.
Bread the risotto balls/disks in flour or seasoned-flour…
I ended up with 12 little risotto disks….
Make sure the oil is fully warmed before adding the risotto. To check for oil heat you can toss in a little bit of clumped flour… if it reacts immediately and starts “cooking” then the oil is ready. The risotto balls/disks will fry quickly.
I fried them 6 at a time…
Let them fry for approximately 1 minute, then carefully flip them over in the skillet. Allow them to cook for another minute… they should turn a glorious golden color. Carefully remove them from the oil and set aside.
Serve immediately, and enjoy immensely.
*You can get the recipe for this fabulous risotto in Pioneer Woman’s DINNERTIME! Cookbook.