Friday, August 15, 2008

My First Risotto

I will readily admit that much of this blog is like an exhibitionistic grown-up version of getting my drawing put up on the refrigerator. To carry out the metaphor, I'm beginning to graduate from crudely-drawn stick figures to more realistic-looking representations, but I'm certainly no Botticelli or Titian. Cooking-wise, I've mastered boiling water and scrambling eggs, and I'm slowly pushing my boundaries and learning new techniques.

Last night Joe was on-call (again. Don't ask. This week is terrible.) so I decided I would try something new. That way if I ended up with something inedible, there would only be one hungry person to deal with. I was a little afraid, but I persevered. There are so many different things that people say about risotto: "It's so hard!" "It's actually easy, not hard like everyone else says." "You must do it X way or use X ingredient if you don't want your risotto to be TERRIBLE."

Well, I read a lot of recipes, and I worked with what I had. I stood over a hot stove for about 40 minutes stirring and stirring and stirring some more. The cat demanded attention and wedged himself between the stove and me so that I couldn't stir without stepping on the cat. But ultimately, I was successful. I sat down to a steaming bowl of risotto and a glass of merlot shortly before 8 pm, and after that first bite, I didn't even mind that I was still sweating. It was glorious.
Warning about the following "recipe": I don't know if it's the correct or proper way to do this. It's just what I did and what worked for me.

My First Risotto


- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes, Italian-style
- 1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
- 4 oz spinach
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- Saute the spinach and mushrooms in 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a small skillet until spinach is wilted and mushrooms are cooked through. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Saute the onion in the remaining 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan until translucent. Then add the rice and saute until it too becomes translucent.
- Add a ladle of simmering broth, stirring the rice until all the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this step until the broth is used up or the rice is al dente, whichever comes first. (No one really told me this, but it seemed like the rice absorbed the first few ladlefuls very quickly, and then it started to take longer the more I added in.)
- Add in the can of tomatoes and the sauteed spinach and mushrooms, stirring until the liquid is absorbed and the risotto is at the desired consistency. (It reminds me of Finding Nemo: "Just keep stirring. Just keep stirring.")
- Mix in the parmesan cheese. Give it one last stir, pour yourself a glass of merlot, plate the risotto, and sprinkle with some additional parmesan cheese.


Laura P. said...

that looks good! especially for your first time, good work! : ) Your cat sounds like my cat...made me laugh. : )

Erin said...

I totally feel the same way about my blog... up until a few months ago, my idea of a balanced meal involved tortilla chips, cheese, and salsa :)

Way to go on the risotto - looks awesome!

Lisa said...

good job on the risotto!! It is labor-intensive, but definitely worth it.
Your kitchen cat sounds just like mine - too funny!

That Girl said...

Congratulations - it looks fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of risotto--I have a package of risotto with truffles that I bought in Paris...waiting for the first chilly day to cook it. My fave basic risotto recipe is in Jamie Oliver's italian cookbook...delish! And when you make it with homemade stock it's even better!

Cate said...

Wow...awesome job on your first risotto! It looks fantastic. I've always just made really basic risotto but I love the idea of including spinach and tomatoes!

Anonymous said...

That looks great. I'm a big risotto fan but I've never had one with tomato in it. I think I'll have to remedy that :)