I learned risotto from Giada and, for whatever reason, I took to it. Risotto's my go to thing. Provided I have arborio rice (risotto), I can make it with virtually anything in the kitchen. The other thing I love about it is, you don't have to be exact. Measurements, schmeasurements... it's done when it tastes right. A little too thick, add liquid... Too soupy, cook it down... too bland... add something tasty.
The main thing risotto takes is time. You have to hang out by the burner with your spoon and your wine for a good 30-40 minutes. But the reward, mmmm! (And, I love the process too.) Here's what I did last night, but you can tweak it with any cheese, protein or vegetables you have around:
Sausage, Spinach & Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan
Main Course Serving Size for 4
2 cups arborio rice (approx)
1 bottle of cheap white wine
1 carton of chicken broth
2 cloves garlic (chopped as fine as you can get em)
1 link andouille sausage (you can use more, this is just what we had in the fridge)
1 cup parmesan cheese (I prefer the grated to the powdery kind, but both work)
2 handfuls spinach
1 cup mushrooms
[Note: for vegetarian version, use vegetable broth and omit sausage]
- Pour yourself a glass of wine. Heat burner to medium high.
- In a stock pot (you want it to be fairly deep, the rice is gonna grow a lot,) coat bottom of pain thinly with olive oil and toss in the garlic. Cook til translucent.
- Add the rice. Yes. Straight into the pot on top of the garlic and olive oil. Give it a slight stir so the rice gets a nice olive oil and garlic coating and then step back. Don't stir. This is the biggest risotto lesson. Like an awesomely bad Kenny Rogers bar song, you gotta know when to stir and when to walk away. You want the rice to toast. It'll start getting a light brown coloring and you'll smell it toasting. OK, now give it a stir. And let it sit til the rest of the rice gets toasty.
- Now you can add liquid. I alternate wine and broth. It doesn't so much matter the order, but I usually start with broth. Add one cup, stir into the rice and step back. Let it cook down until almost all of the broth has been absorbed.
- Now add one cup of wine. Stir (only enough that it doesn't stick to the bottom as it thickens.) Step back.
- Relax. Drink your wine, chat with friends, watch Days of Our Lives that you've DVR'd guiltily. For the next half hour or so, you'll alternate wine and broth. Stir. Let it absorb. Repeat. There are life lessons in risotto. Good things take time. Some times, it's best to let it lie. You know the drill.
- Know how you know it's almost done? Not the clock, not the number of cups of liquid added... no... it's when you taste it and you are like, OMFG this needs to get in my belly. Is your risotto there? Ok, now add 3/4 of your cheese and your sausage with your next round of liquid. Stir it all in and let it absorb. (If your sausage is uncooked, toss it in and cook it in the broth, your risotto will absorb the awesome flavors.)
- When it's cheesy awesomeness is absorbed and the rice tastes perfect but it's still slightly liquidy, you're done (you don't want to cook it down too much because even after you take it off the heat, it's still going to reduce... you want it perfect at the table. If it's perfect on the stove, by the time it gets to the table it'll be overcooked.) Toss the spinach on top and stir. Portion into bowls and top with shredded parmesan.
Hope you try it and love it! Let me know what you think or if you have other risotto tips to share in the comments or tweet me @floridagirlindc.
PS. Got leftover risotto? Add a little liquid before you reheat it to get it the right consistency. Or, form it into patties, coat with breadcrumbs and fry up into Risotto Patties or Risotto Balls (Aranciata if you wanna be fancy!)
PSS. Like this? Check out my Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto or Parmesan Risotto with Ramps, Morels and Asparagus blog posts.