Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Love Risotto AND A Good Day's Work

So. Risotto. Is there a reason you're NOT eating risotto for dinner a couple times a month? If it's because you don't know how, here: let Marcella teach you. That's really all you need. Recipes? Psshhh. Risotto is a method, homeboy. And it goes a little something like this:

Take some fat. Heat it in a pan. Add a few aromatics. Throw in some long-cooking veggies if you like. Sizzle them for a little bit. Meanwhile, boil some water or broth in another pan. Add some arborio or carnaroli rice to the pan with the fat and aromatics. Stir it around until the edges start to look translucent. Don't let it brown. Add a splash of white wine. Add the water or broth a half-cup or so at a time, stirring constantly, until each batch is absorbed. When the rice is al dente, taste, adjust seasoning, and add quick-cooking veggies and a few flavor enhancers. Butter. Cream. Cheese. The texture should be creamy and loose, but not soupy. Add an egg yolk or two off the heat if it tickles your fancy.

Does that sound easy enough? Think of the variations.

Cajun Risotto
Fat: bacon grease
Aromatics: onions, peppers (capsicums), garlic, bay leaf
Long-cooking veg: none
Liquid: water or chicken broth
Quick-cooking veg: peas
Flavor enhancers: cream, very aged gouda
Bonuses: andouille sausage, shrimp

Springtime Farmers Market Haul Risotto
Fat: olive oil
Aromatics: onions, garlic
Long-cooking veg: morels
Liquid: H20
Quick-cooking veg: shredded zucchini, spring onions
Flavor enhancers: butter, parmigiano reggiano, egg yolk


Also, a good day's work would be... the 7 half-pints and two pints of strawberry-rhubarb jam and 4 half-pints of serviceberry-raspberry jam. Have I mentioned that I love canning? Because I do. It's probably my favorite all-time kitchen activity. Narrowly above baking bread, but there just the same.