Saturday, April 28, 2012
In my mind, risotto is bestowed the role of a culinary staple. The dish appears so basic, and in its simplicity, highly adaptable. When I made the goal of attempting 100 new recipes, this was at the top of the wish list. Now, nearly a year and a half into the project, I am finally getting around to stirring in that broth, one ladle full at a time.
Something about the dish intimidated me. Risotto was a dished reserved for date nights at fancy restaurants, where time and care are poured into every dish. Establishments where one savors every bite with a sip of well paired wine. I knew not much was involved in risotto, ingredient wise. But I am impatient. And the time need to slowly coax the creaminess out of the rich was a block.
I finally overcame that block. Risotto is a labor of love. It tried my patience to its limits, as I carefully watched each addition of broth slowly absorb into the rice. But it is a labor I will be attempting again.
This basic variation of the classic Italian rice dish gains extra creaminess from the two types of cheese added: fontina, the highly melt-able cheese, and Parmesan to pump up the flavor. I suspect any combination of a melting cheese and more flavorful variety would work as well.
adapted from 1001 Recipes, edited by Martha Day
yields 4 servings
4 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp butter, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups abrorio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup fontina cheese, diced
2/3 cups grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sauce pan, heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer. Keep warm.
In a large saucepan, melt half of the butter with the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic. Saute over medium high heat until the onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat evenly.
Slowly pour in the white wine. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, stirring continuously. Once the wine has been absorbed, add the warm chicken stock, one ladle full at a time, allowing each addition to be fully absorbed before adding the next. Patience is key. Stir gently and continuously.
Once about half of the stack has been absorbed, add the fontina cheese and stir until melted. Continue to add the stock as before.
After the last ladle of stock has been absorbed, at the rice is creamy in texture ans slightly al dente, stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese. Remove the risotto from the heat.. Cover and let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
Serve warm with a sprinkling of your favorite herbs.
After all is said and eaten, I really cannot figure out why I waited so long to make risotto. Its classy, high maintenance veneer has been marred. And I will never look at restaurant risotto the same way. Nothing quite compares to the creaminess achieved with home made.