Friday, July 2, 2010

The Risotto Challenge!

Ever have one of those rare, wonderful days where everything goes right... you get your work done on time so you're out when there's still day light... there are no misplaced "to-do's"... You didn't leave the AC running all day for the millionth time since you moved in... Yeah, today was definitely not one of those days. My work list never seems to end... *sigh* I resorted to Taco Bell for lunch (yes, that's right.. don't judge me.. Yo quiero Taco Bell)... and even though I didn't leave the AC running (go me!).. it just wasn't one of those days that one would feel inspired to make anything.

So I went to my current happy place... The library (don't worry Target, you are a super close second). Yes, that's right... I heart the library... never again will I buy a book only for it to collect dust under my bed. Rather, I will do a test run... I love walking up and down the aisles looking for my next adventure. Yes, that's right I am a library fiend. Some things never change...
I came acoss a book that made me a laugh, titled "Girls can't cook." I looked in the appendix for "asparagus" thinking about the pound of sprouty greens I bought last week that are nearing that inevitable turning point sitting in my fridge. There.. *cue the chimes*.. was a recipe for asparagus risotto! Inspiration! A recipe I had meaning to try forever but got intimidated each week when I watched contestants on Hell's Kitchen fail to make it to Chef Ramsey's expectations. Eh... Let's give it a shot shall we?

(Btw... when the hubster found out I was going to attempt to make risotto, he decide he would play the role of Chef Ramsey, explicits and all...).

I called my friend Vaishali for some "lessons learned" since she's made risotto several times. I realized that this cooking process was going to definitely test my patience level, but I digress... Let's move on to my latest cooking adventure..

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

What you need (for 4 servings):

  • 4-5 cups of vegetable stock, boiled
  • 1 cup of medium grained rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 lb of asparagus, stems broken off and chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 cup of mushrooms (the store didn't have any decent ones, so I used can mushrooms), chopped
  • 3 tbsp of chives, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of white wine
  • 3-4 tbsp of EVOO
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp of butter

The "How to" -

  1. In a small pot, boil the vegetable stock, covered so it doesn't evaporate on you
  2. In a larger pot, heat the EVOO, make sure it coats the bottom of the pan well
  3. Add in the onions, cook for about 5 minutes, till they are clear
  4. Add in rice and cook until rice most of the rice is transparent, make sure you are stirring frequently (this takes awhile so be patient)
  5. Add in the wine, stir frequently and until all the moisture is absorbed
  6. Add in a 1/2-1 cup of stock, until the rice is covered, at time. This step (repeated 3x) requires a lot of patience and upper arm power (lots of stirring is required). Let the rice absorb the stock, it should be a slight soupy consistency before adding another cup or so of stock, again, covering the rice
  7. Before the 3rd cup of stock, add in the asparagus and mushrooms, make sure the asparagus gets tucked in so it does have a chance to cook
  8. Let the 3rd cup of stock absorb, again a slightly soupy consistency. Do a taste test... it should be al dente
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  10. Turn the heat off and add in the 2 tbsp of butter and the cheese. Mix well
  11. As you are mixing the butter and cheese, this will help the soupy consistency of the rice become creamy and the rice should be cooked now.

Can I just say, for my first attempt at risotto, this was D-E-L-I-S-H! Definitely be more mindful of making sure the rice is covered with stock at the beginning of each pour. Also, making sure the rice is transparent prior to the stock is key in making sure the rice is in fact "al dente" and not just plain uncooked rice.

Happy cooking!


cookie said...

That looks delish!! Now I am hungry...

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Risotto is my new love and yours looks particularly great! I also love the library and Target (and Taco Bell *ashamed*).