Risotto is one of the first dishes I remember making with my mother when I started to get really into food. It was before a family dinner and I had to keep taking over for her, stirring the pot, while she poked around the kitchen tasting and finishing other dishes. That was the first time I tasted risotto, and I was a goner. I've become a bit obsessed. I never order risotto in a restaurant. I only make it when I really crave it or am in need of comfort. Nothing reduces stress like a risotto.
I make risotto the way my idol makes it. That is to say, the way Biba makes it. Biba Caggiano, the real Italian superstar (back off Giada!).
Here's what she has to say about risotto:
"The technique of cooking a risotto, which is to add broth at intervals, is essential to produce a perfectly cooked and creamy rice. Timing in cooking a risotto is essential to its success... The risotto at the end of cooking should have a moist but not watery consistency, with creamy yet individually separated grains of rice.
There is only one way to achieve this perfect balance: practice. The more you do it the better you'll become. The fact that a risotto should be cooked at the last moment shouldn't bother you... When you cook a risotto for the first time follow the recipe literally. Be on top of it. Stir and taste and try to remember the look and consistency that a well-made risotto has when it's done."
-from Modern Italian Cooking by Biba Caggiano
When MarxFoods sent me four varieties of risotto rice to road test a few weeks ago you can just imagine my glee. You thought risotto rice meant Arborio rice, right? Not so. You can check out the Guide to Risotto Rice to get your learn on. Me? I started with what I thought didn't exist: brown risotto rice. Italian integrale rice is whole grain brown rice, making it better for you, but I wasn't sure how it would hold up to a risotto recipe. I've tried other short grain brown rices before, and they never, ever turn into the creamy, dreamy heaven of a good risotto. I was pleasantly surprised. Integrale is a little nuttier in flavor than Arborio, and it makes a great base for the earthy flavors of ingredients like mushrooms. The texture had a tiny bit more bite than Arborio, but it lost none of the richness. I was in total risotto heaven, with none of the risotto guilt.
Integrale Risotto with Black Trumpet Mushrooms
adapted from Biba Caggiano
makes two very generous portions
1 c. Organic Integrale Rice
3 c. vegetable stock (you may, of course, use any type of stock you like)
1/2 c. dry white wine
3 Tbls. unsalted butter, divided
1 Tbls. olive oil
1/4 c. diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. Black Trumpet Mushrooms, re-hydrated and chopped
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
Bring the stock to a boil in a pot on the back burner and reduce heat to very low.
Melt 2 Tbls. of butter in a large skillet or a dutch oven. Add oil and onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook 1 or 2 minutes, until rice is toasted and coated with butter and oil.
Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add a few ladles of stock until rice is just covered. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock in this manner, a little at a time, until all stock has been absorbed and rice is creamy, 15 - 20 minutes). Stir in remaining butter, mushrooms, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
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This post is linked to:
Hearth and Soul
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