Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ode to Risotto

i love risotto. i mean, i seriously think it's one of my favorite dishes. it's really pretty easy, it just takes constant attention. i usually use company coming over as a good excuse to make it because it just doesn't work on a regular weeknight. so, i made mushroom risotto for W and A tonight since i had the time. it was excellent along with honey glazed carrots. actually, a vegetarian meal was just what we needed after so many mexican inspired elk dishes.

if you have never made risotto, i encourage you to try it. many are intimidated by it, but really it's easy. just make sure you have at least 30 minutes to dedicate to the dish. seriously, you cannot leave the kitchen or be distracted by a phone call or a little one.

the two secrets of risotto are to have the chicken stock very warm in a separate pot to add to the arborio rice and to have a nice glass of wine handy while you are making it because it requires a lot of stirring.

necessary wine for sipping

warm chicken stock

halfway cooked risotto

finished product - mushroom risotto and honey-glazes carrots

Mushroom Risotto
(serves 4 main courses or 6 side dishes)

5 cups chicken stock
4 tbs olive oil, divided
8 oz wild mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh thyme
3 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups uncooked arborio rice
1/2 cups white wine
1/2 cups grated parmesan

bring broth to a boil over medium heat. reduce to med low and keep warm.

heat 2 tbs olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. add mushrooms and saute till browned. remove and set aside.

add remaining 2 tbs olive oil to pot and saute onions until transparent. add garlic and thyme and cook another minute. add rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly until completely coated in oil and starting to turn translucent.

add wine and stir until almost all liquid has been absorbed. add 1 cup of warm chicken stock and stir constantly until almost all liquid has been absorbed. continue adding 1 cup of liquid at a time and cooking (while stirring) until nearly absorbed. you may not need all of the chicken stock but it will take between 20-30 mins. test rice to see if it is finished. it should be firm but not crunchy.

finally add mushrooms and any liquid back to the pot and stir in salt and pepper to taste and parmesan cheese.

serve immediately. garnish with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Honey Glazed Carrots
(serves 4)

1 16-oz. bag of baby carrots
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 tbs honey
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger

In a large saucepan, place all of the baby carrots in a saucepan and then add enough water to cover the carrots completely.  Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer carrots until tender but firm (approximately 5 minutes).  Drain carrots and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Stir in honey.  Cook over low heat, making sure to stir constantly, until honey dissolves.  Add rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.

Add carrots to the skillet mixture.  Stir gently until the carrots are coated with the honey glaze.  Continue to cook over medium heat until carrots are heated through (appx. 2 minutes), stirring occasionally.

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