Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good Goo

Okay, so, risotto. I've always wondered, what's the appeal? A bowl of gooey rice studded with bits of this and that? Hmmm, I'm from Missouri.

Being a risotto skeptic (though not actually a Missourian), I had never eaten it before, never been tempted to try it in a restaurant as there were always yummier-sounding options on the menu and certainly never been tempted to make it at home, what with all the ladling and stirring described in the recipes.

Just goes to show how wrong I can be.

On a whim, I made risotto for the first time last night and it was not only laughably easy but quite, quite delicious as well. From the various recipes I read, it looked as if you just start with aromatics, rice and wine, and the rest is up to you. So, to the minced garlic and chopped onion that I sizzled in a heavy, large pot in a little olive oil and butter combo, I added a measure of my homemade duxelles before adding a cup of rice for a few minutes of cooking, then about half a cup of white wine.

When the wine was absorbed, I started ladling in the hot chicken stock by half cups until all five cups (to one small cup of rice!) were absorbed, stirring more or less continuously. It sounds far more tedious than it is - in a way, it's nicely contemplative - and it only took about 20 minutes. At the end, I added a big handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and, for just a minute or two, the frozen peas and chopped leftover chicken to warm the meat and gently cook the peas.

That's all there was to it! At the table, with the candles lit and the rest of the bottle of wine at his elbow, My Beloved and I added a bit more cheese to the goo in our bowls, marveling at the creamy texture and rich taste that just a few ingredients, patiently combined, can produce.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Anna Haight said...

Yes, risotto is surprisingly good, and not actually difficult. It reminds me of making tapioca pudding with all the stirring.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

I made risotto for the first time last summer. Now I'm hooked.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

How funny is that, that you can get it exactly right the first time. Brilliant.
PS: Not to noodge you, but I've had success adding the stock at cooler than simmering temp. It seems to stop the cooking of the rice temporarily, and then it absorbs, and then you do it again, and you get a nice texture in the rice. I totally invented this myself and bragged about it to a fellow food blogger, who said, "Yes, I know about that." Eek.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Anna, I've never tried tapioca - maybe that's next!

Kailyn, I can see why... now!

Cookiecrumb, beginner's luck, I suspect.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Now try making it with barley or farro.
We love risotto at our house, spring, summer, autumn or winter, it's wonderful stuff.
O and like Ms Crumb, I don't use hot stock, on lazy days it's not even warm!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Morgan and Cookie, I didn't find heating the stock to be a nuisance but it's good to know you get good results without that step. Does it slow down the process if you use cold?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  
Blogger katiez said...

I'm a risotto fiend! I make it all the time - and never stir constantly. It's always perfectly creamy. I do tend to overindulge on the cheese, though... and, maybe the wine...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

KatieZ, is a possible to overindulge in wine and cheese? I don't think so...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

You know, I don't think using cold stock makes the risotto process take any longer. It's just a neat trick.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, thanks, I'll try that next time. I wonder why all the foodie bigwigs insist on hot stock? Also, have you ever made it with veggie stock?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I suspect I have made it with vegetable stock! A few years ago, before my composting hobby, I rabidly made veg stocks every few weeks.
Aw, weep, that reminds me of Mill Valley. If only it hadn't morphed into Mean Valley, I might still be there.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

It doesn't slow me down, I at teeny wee splishes of stock, so it doesn't seem cool the risotto or slow the cooking process.

Thursday, February 19, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Morgan, that's good to know! Thanks!

Thursday, February 19, 2009  

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