Before getting to my guest post for today, I wanted to remind you about Tuesday Trainer over at Lindsay’s place!
Today’s guest post is the second in a series of posts from my older brother who is a wonderful cook. Last time, he shared a southerwestern version of pork chops and applesauce, and today he is sharing a recipe for risotto, which is a super yummy, but time-consuming dish. Enjoy!
It’s time for the next installment of Eat Happy, Be (Somewhat) Healthy, Live Well. As fall approaches it’s time for food that sticks to your ribs and warms your heart (metaphorically – don’t want any heart attacks); in that vein here’s a Risotto recipe that meets those requirements, as well as requiring lots of love to make properly. I made it twice in the last couple of weeks, slightly modified each time and plan to make it again tonight. These are the types of dishes that I like to make, because depending on the flavors you want to infuse there are different ingredients to get you from point A to point B so feel free to experiment on your own. Without further ado, here’s what I made:
- 1 Cup Rice per 2 people (I used white, Arborio is the classic Italian type used , if you use Brown you may have to cook longer and use more liquid)
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, I prefer Extra Virgin
- 3 Tbsp. Butter, or less if you don’t want it quite as rich
- Solid helping of Herbage (recipe at the end)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 3 Cups cooking liquid – I used a can of chicken stock and some water, you could use white wine, red wine, whatever you think will taste good.
- ½ Cup of Half & Half or Heavy Cream, whatever you have on hand
- Parmesan to taste & texture
- *Optional* Protein
- *Optional* Vegetables
Heat up a heavy bottomed stainless-steel pan or Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add the Olive Oil and Butter at the same time, once the butter is melted add the uncooked Rice and fry it up for about a minute or so. As the butter and oil start to absorb into the rice (Picture 1 – notice there’s no butter/oil anymore) add ¼ to ½ Cup of the cooking liquid.
Bring the liquid to a boil (Picture 2) and continuously stir the rice as the liquid absorbs(Picture 3), this should take about 5-7 minutes depending on how much liquid you add. At this point you begin to lower the heat a little each time you add some liquid so that it’s medium to medium-low by the end of preparation.
Continue to add the liquid ¼ to ½ cup at a time, stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed. As I got down to the last ¼ – ½ of cooking liquid, I added the cream to the cooking liquid and kept incorporating it as before. When you’ve added that last bit of liquid, add the Parmesan as well and continuously stir until the liquid is absorbed and you have a creamy texture – it’s at this point that I added the Herbage, Salt, and Pepper; however, you can try adding them sooner in the recipe so the flavors have more time to come together. Congratulations! You’ve just made Risotto.
Creamy, cheesy, ricey goodness is all well and good; however, this site is about eating healthier so I’d be remiss if that was the end of it. The first time I made this I sautéed some zucchini, summer squash, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers on the side and stirred it into the finished mixture. The second time I made the dish, I sautéed chicken and vegetables in the same pan before starting the risotto so as not to dirty more dishes than necessary as well as keep all the flavors in the same pan (Picture 5). My wife made the suggestion to grill the chicken and vegetables before incorporating into the risotto.
My favorite thing about this dish is that there’s tons of different directions you can go with this to keep it fresh, such as:
- Black & Blue Steak Risotto – swap out steak for chicken, beef stock mixed with red wine for chicken stock, and bleu cheese crumbles for the parmesan.
- Cajun Risotto – Cook the Cajun “holy trinity” of celery, onion, and bell pepper in with the rice at the beginning, then use some Cajun seasonings with chicken and/or Andoullie sausage and/or crawfish tails.
- Summer Squash/Fall Vegetables Risotto – use your favorite fall vegetables
My Herbage recipe is nothing special, but it is time consuming. I always have a ramekin of dried rosemary & thyme next to my stove, sometimes infused with some oregano. While these aren’t anything special, I always start with fresh herbs either from the grocery store, farmer’s market, or my own garden. De-stem the herbs by removing the really woody branches; the limp, green ones are ok (thyme is quite the pain in the ass…) and then finely chop up the herbs and let dry out beside the stove – if you try to dry them out under the broiler you’ll likely start some minor coals burning and make your house/apartment smell like a pot dealer’s.
Have you ever made risotto??