Friday, February 5, 2010

Creamy Parmesan Risotto

Risotto is special. It's creamy, cheesy, tangy and oh-so-delicious. So, it should only be something you make on a special occasion, right? WRONG! I made this today...for lunch. No special reason, no big deal...just because I wanted it and we happened to have some white wine (one of the required ingredients!).

Risotto sounds hard. It sounds gourmet. It's not. It's so easy, it just takes some TLC, patience and a strong stirring arm! Please make this. Once you taste it, your stomach will love you. Promise.

My notes: There are so many variations of risotto. It's literally a blank canvas and you can do anything to it. I chose this one today. I've also made risotto with basil pesto stirred in at the end. If you google risotto recipes you will find something you like! I didn't add any meat but I've made this with shrimp & chicken before! The thing about risotto is that you have to babysit it. You've gotta stir & stir between each time you ladle in the stock. It should only take about 20-25 minutes on medium-high heat.

About the wine...it's really required. All the alcohol is cooked out. The flavor is irreplaceable. Sorry, it just is. There are so many affordable bottles of wine out there - find the cheapest bottle of white wine and use it for this!! You need a cup! Bonus tip: You can freeze wine in ice cube containers or little sandwich baggies for later if you don't drink it! The recipe says to use fresh grated cheese...I use the stuff in the green can. I mean, I already splurged on the wine! By all means use fresh or pre-grated!

Creamy Parmesan Risotto (from RealSimple.com)

Ingredients
3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc (I used Riesling because it's what I had - just pick the cheapest bottle of white wine!)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving


Directions
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer and keep warm over low heat.

2. In a separate medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it is well coated with the butter and starts to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer gently until all the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Ladle 1/2 cup of the warm broth into the rice mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is absorbed. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time, until the rice is cooked through but still firm, 20 to 25 minutes total.

4. Add the remaining butter and the salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Stir to incorporate. Adjust seasoning with more salt to taste. Serve immediately, topping with additional Parmesan.

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