How To: Rice It Up (Part 2)
One of my all-time fave foods is risotto, in fact, I’ll be making it for dinner tonight. Yes, it is made of rice, Arborio rice. Some people think it’s a pasta and confuse it with orzo (which is a pasta), but risotto is a way of cooking the rice. I’m not going to lie, it does require some patience. But open up a bottle of wine, drink while you cook this, and it will be done in no time. The following is my most beloved risotto recipe by far.
Serving is for 4 people.
1 ½ Cups of Arborio rice
4 Tbsp of olive oil
6 Cups of chicken or vegetable stock
½ Cup of diced pancetta or smoked ham
¼ Cup of diced shallots (which have a more delicate flavor) or onion
1/3 Cup of peas
1/3 Cup of diced cremini mushrooms
½ Of dry white wine or dry vermouth
3 Tbsp of butter
Generous handful of parmesan cheese
Small handful of Parsley
½ Lemon juice and zest or you may also use orange
- In a saucepan simmer your stock and keep it warm at a low heat.
- In a separate pan (preferably a deep pan that will hold the heat and not allow the stock to evaporate so quickly), on medium heat, drizzle olive oil and brown the pancetta or ham. Allow the fat to render, and then remove and reserve.
- Drizzle a bit more olive oil because the mushrooms will soak up the oil that was left in the pan immediately. Sauté the onions until it becomes translucent, then add the mushrooms.
- Add your Arborio rice and allow it to soak up all the flavors in the pan for 4-5 minutes, until the grains become translucent.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine, and allow it to reduce by half, burning most of the alcohol off.
- Reduce your head to medium-low and add a couple of ladles of stock to your rice while stirring the rice as if your massaging the starch out of each grain. Pour just enough stock to coat the rice, with a half an inch of stock on top of the rice. Allow the stock to reduce and then add a couple of more ladles of stock. You’re going to do this for 3 rounds. In between, leave the cover of your pan off and allow the stock to reduce down.
- Once your risotto reaches a creamy consistency, head on in for a taste test for seasoning and doneness. ALWAYS taste.
- WORK QUICKLY NOW. Add your pancetta or ham and fold it into the risotto to warm it through along with your peas. It’s best to add these towards the end so that they maintain their bright green color. Allow everything to warm through for 1-2 minutes.
- Turn your heat off and add your generous portion of parmesan cheese.
- Add your butter and fold it through. Place the skillet back on the burner.
- Add a squeeze of lemon or orange juice, along with its zest.
- Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
Note: It is possible to prepare risotto in advance if you have guest coming over. After the second round of adding stock, simply turn off the heat. When your guests are on there way, you can re-fire the risotto and then finish it off with your last round of stock and the rest of your ingredients. Also, you can make risotto as a side dish, by just using shallots, butter, wine, and parmesan cheese.