Hot and creamy risotto coming right up
Risotto is a dish that intimidates a lot of people. Folks seem to associate this simple, simply delicious dish with fancy restaurants. It is pure comfort food in a bowl and real Italian home cooking that never fails to make my mouth happy.
Risotto is a great party dish and will really impress your guests if you take the time to cook it properly. By properly, I mean just follow a few easy steps and you will reach perfection. When you make your first risotto you might think that it is a time consuming dish and too fussy in its preparation – well, it’s not.
The first step for me is to have a delicious homemade chicken stock. You are welcome to use a vegetable stock as well, and you need to use Arborio rice which is a variety of short-grained rice used for making risotto. It is short and fat and slightly oval-shaped and very starchy. This is what gives risotto its creaminess. Then you need to have a little patience.
Follow these easy steps and you will soon be scooping spoonfuls of creamy risotto into your mouth. Step one is to cook onion in a mixture of butter and olive oil and then add the Arborio rice and give it a good still to coat the grains in the butter, then if you are using a little wine in your dish add it now and stir it in. After that you add HOT stock one ladle at a time so that the stock gets absorbed into the rice. Now the reason the stock must be hot is because you don’t want to lower the cooking temperature, which will result in a very mushy end product, and we want creamy and slightly al dente, with separate grains – not a mushy mess. Every time you add liquid and stir it releases the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains and creates a smooth, creamy-textured liquid. Everyone has their own way of preparing a risotto – some in the traditional way and some in other ways.
You can add anything thing to your risotto. My favourite ingredients to add are always mushrooms and parmesan cheese. When I need a bowl of comfort food, I simply love mushrooms and so do my family, so most of my risotto dishes have mushrooms in them.
I am sharing a Risotto recipe from a friend with you. Try out Chicken, Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Risotto done her way – it’s really yummy!
5 cups hot chicken stock
2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbls butter
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1½ cups Arborio rice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan and add the onions, cook them stirring until slightly softened, stir in the garlic and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant – don’t burn it now.
Now stir in the rice and coat with the oil and butter and add the wine. Cook it while stirring all the time until the wine has been absorbed.
Keep adding a ½ cup of warm stock and keep stirring until it has been absorbed, before adding the next lot of stock. Once all the stock has been used and the rice is nice and tender, add ½ of the parmesan cheese and stir it in.
Spoon into bowls and top with more parmesan cheese.
Chicken, Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Risotto
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups Arborio rice, well washed
2 large chicken fillets, cut into bite size pieces
½ cup sundried tomatoes, cut in half
200g white button mushrooms
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 rounded tbsp. ricotta cheese
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- In a large saucepan, sauté garlic and onion and chicken pieces in a little stock and set aside.
- Wash rice well.
- Place remainder of stock in saucepan and bring to boil. Add 1/2 cup rice and gently stir until stock again boils.
- Add a further ½ cup of rice and stir till stock again boils. Repeat until all rice is added to pan.
- Add the chicken mixture, tomatoes, mushrooms and black pepper. Reduce heat and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for around 15 minutes until the rice is cooked and all stock absorbed.
- Add spinach and toss to allow leaves to wilt. Remove risotto from heat and stir in ricotta cheese.
- Serve on individual plates and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.