Ye olde Culinary Chick is having guests over this weekend, barring any shenanigans from the weather this weekend.
On the menu are braised lamb shanks with dried cherry and rosemary demi-glace, saffron risotto and roasted broccoli. One of my guests, a childhood friend, loves potatoes and I serve them every time she comes over. However, this time I wanted to make something a bit different and dust off some of the skills I acquired over the years. One of them was how to make risotto. And believe it or not, you can too. If you follow my directions, you will have a great side dish to dazzle your friends with.
Risotto is an Italian dish made with arborio rice, a short grain rice prized for its al dente texture and creaminess when cooked. The version we will cook is Risotto ala Milanese. C’mon, its easy!
You will need the following equipment:
heavy-bottomed pan ( cast iron or aluminum [plain or anodized])
a wooden spoon
1 – 2 qt. saucepan
Risotto Milanese (serves one as a main dish or two as a side dish)
2 tbl. olive oil
1/2 c. arborio rice
1/3 c. diced onions
2 c. chicken stock or broth
pinch of saffron*
2 tb. parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1-2 tbl. butter
1 tbl. chopped fresh parsley
Add rice and saute, making sure all rice grains are coated and center of rice is visible.
Add one ladle of hot stock to the pan with the rice and onions and stir with wooden spoon until all of the liquid is absorbed.
After all of the liquid is absorbed from the first ladle of stock, add another ladle of stock and stir again with the wooden spoon until absorbed. Repeat these steps until you have used all of the stock and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
By this time your rice will have doubled in size and you should see a small amount of thickened stock in bottom of pan.
Add butter and stir until incorporated. Add parmesan cheese and pepper. If needed add a scant amount of salt ( taste first).
Add parsley and serve with a side salad as a main dish or as a side dish with seafood or meat.
A note: Saffron can be found in specialty stores and can be pricey. If you do not have saffron, you can still enjoy this dish without it. The addition of some fresh chopped herbs or seasonings that will compliment your main dish will suffice such as lemon zest, chopped chives, tarragon or roasted garlic puree as an example will add flavor and color to your risotto. And, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can make this using vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock and omitting the butter and cheese.