Thursday, March 21, 2013

creamy parmesan risotto

You might be looking at these pictures and thinking that my Brussels sprouts obsession has dangerously morphed into an asparagus obsession; you are correct.

I, admittedly, have a tendency to get stuck on certain ingredients and use them over and over again until I move to the next one.  Recently, I've also been a little stuck on lime:  I made coconut key lime pie last night with an excessive amount of tiny key limes, and I then used three more regular limes for my fajita marinade this morning.  My fingers sting a bit from the acidity, but nothing beats 24 hours of smelling like lime, right?

Similarly, nothing beats creamy risotto.  Variations on this Olive Garden recipe are a family favorite, and I've even posted something a variation of my own here before.  This makes a generous 4 servings, but I find, when making risotto, that you want leftovers:  you can fry them up as arancini, or you can just reheat your leftovers for another meal.  Either way, the amount of time that you put into making risotto, even though it's not difficult, is best divided between two meals, if you ask me.

I served mine with roasted asparagus and leftovers from my roasted Cornish hens, and I have instructions and links for both below if you would like to serve yours the same way.  This meal is also good with any green vegetable (my sister just made them with Brussels sprouts--I know!  you've had enough of those already!), a salad, or some shrimp fried up in butter and garlic.  As with anything, the possibilities are endless, so I'll cut to the recipe and let you dream up your own dinner.  :  )


Adapted from the Olive Garden.

¼ cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups Parmesan cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Put your chicken broth in a stockpot or saucepan over low heat on one of your burners.
  2. In a separate, large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  When the olive oil is hot, add the onions.  Cook the onions for about 3 minutes or until they are soft.
  3. Turn the heat down to about medium, and add the arborio rice.  Stir to coat the rice with the olive oil, then add the white wine and stir while it evaporates.
  4. When all the white wine has evaporated, begin adding your chicken broth.  Add about ¾ cups of chicken broth at a time, stirring continuously and letting each addition of broth evaporate until adding another addition of broth.  You may not need to add all the chicken broth, so as you start finishing up using the broth (probably after 20 minutes or so), periodically test your rice to see if it is ready.  The rice should be creamy and firm when done; it should not be crunchy.
  5. When your rice is done, remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and heavy cream.  Stir until the cheese has melted and a smooth sauce has formed.  Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.
  6. Serve hot.
Makes about 4 to 5 servings of risotto.

to serve

I originally made two roasted Cornish hens and had one leftover (about 1 cup of roasted chicken) so I used the rest of that by reheating it and and then mixing it in with my hot risotto.  I also roasted asparagus (see below for instructions.)

½ pound asparagus, ends trimmed
olive oil
salt, pepper, & garlic salt
handful of Parmesan cheese

  1. Spread asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle asparagus with a small amount of olive oil and then shake the tray to coat the asparagus.
  3. Season asparagus with salt, pepper, & garlic salt.  Shake to coat the asparagus.
  4. Top asparagus with a handful of grated Parmesan cheese
  5. Broil on "high" for 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately over risotto.
Makes about 2 servings of asparagus.

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