Goal on my bucket list
I felt impelled. I’ve never made risotto before but it has been on my Bucket List of dishes to attempt. Then last night while watching Next Food Network Star, Wolfgang Puck gave Jyll a ‘How To’ lesson on perfect risotto. Before I turned the lights out, I put it on the top of my ‘to do’ list for today and I went to bed with risotto dancing in my head.
It’s a simple dish. The ingredients are simple but the process takes some babying. For example, the recipe said, ‘Stirring rice too vigorously will make your risotto slightly gluey; stirring too little will make it watery. Rice should only be thinly veiled in liquid during the stirring process.’ How much stirring does it need?
This recipe is adapted from a Sara Neumeier piece I saved a few years ago in Martha Stewart Living. It helped to watch Wolfgang’s lesson on national TV as a viewer student (versus a contestant). On the other hand, who wouldn’t want some personal cuisine coaching from him? My risotto came out really good for my first try. It takes about 30 minutes to make and requires a fair amount of attention but I was able to create a creamy, textured, rich rice dish. The finished result is worth the effort for a special menu. It wasn’t as hard as I thought.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Yield: 4-6 servings | Level: Moderate
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 6-8 cups chicken stock
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/4 tsp pepper
2 Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add shallots, stirring and cook until transparent.
3 Add rice and cook for 3-4 minutes.
4 Add 3/4 cup hot stock to the rice. Using a wooden or bamboo spoon, stir constantly at a moderate speed. When the rice mixture is just thick enough to leave a wake behind the spoon, add another 3/4 cup of stock. Continue this process until the rice is mostly translucent but still opaque in the center. It should be al dente but not crunchy. Towards the end, use smaller amounts of hot stock to avoid overcooking the rice. ‘The final mixture should be thick enough that grains of rice are suspended in liquid the consistency of heavy cream. It will thicken slightly when removed from heat.’
Don’t wash the rice because the starches clinging to the outside of the kernels help create the creaminess of classic risotto.
The chicken stock and cheese add a fair amount of salt, taste before salting.
Serve with pork chops or pork roast. Also a good match with chicken breasts.
- Exchange shallots for sweet onions or scallions.
- Along with the butter and cheese, add 1/2 cup defrosted frozen peas or diced sauteed mushrooms.
Inspiration – Martha Stewart
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: June 2, 2012