I’m a rice-instead-of-potatoes kind of girl so for me; and I’ve started to embrace arborio rice just the same as jasmine or basmati. The intrigue has always been there but never in my kitchen. That is until Valentine’s Day (or really the day after Valentine’s Day) I spent the better part of the day cooking up love for my lover: braised lamb and risotto di Arti (a friend).
For the lamb I used Cook, Shoot, Eat’s recipe. I was very excited to be putting my food processor once again to use! To be honest, not sure how you’d do this without one. I cut down the recipe for my purposes and I did not have pretty lamb shanks but lamb steaks instead. I know it doesn’t look all that pretty in my picture but I certainly wouldn’t share it with you unless it was terrifically delicious. The lamb flavor shined through however the earthy vegetable braising sauce had a mediterranean flavor which simply took me to another place! (Dramatic-yes.)
Back to the risotto. My dear foodie friend was kind enough to send over her version of risotto, her secret weapon being cream. Broth? Yes. White wine? Yes. Cream? Yes! Risotto purists might be freaking out but I don’t care (and they will really freak out after I tell you what else I put in it), leave it out if your lactose-intolerant but if you’re not, just try it for crying out loud. I was going to to leave the asparagus as a stand-alone vegetable side but as you can see the risotto and asparagus wanted to play. So what was my secret addition to the recipe? Goat cheese!
I guess I should really explain this all by saying that braising takes a long time. Three hours. Since I knew I would have to wait to make the risotto until the end and that I ALSO had to open a bottle of white wine to make it, I thought, why not braise and drink? Now, I’m just a little piece so it doesn’t take much to get me tipsy, especially on an empty stomach, but let’s just say I drank over half the bottle by my wee little self before I decided GOAT CHEESE is going to rule the world.
It’s similar to what Hemingway said about writing, “Write drunk, edit sober.” In this case, “Cook drunk, blog sober.”
Recipe for Risotto di Arti
~ 1 cup of arborio rice
~ get a big 32 oz container of stock of your liking (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Chicken Stock), you won’t need the whole thing but get it for good measure
~ Dry white wine for consumption and at least a half of a cup for the rice
~ half of a cup of heavy cream
~ about 1/2 a cup of finely chopped white onion
~ half of a cup of freshly grated parmesan
~ about an ounce of soft goat cheese
~ 2 tbsp butter
Directions: Heat up your butter and add onions. Saute the onion until translucent, soft, and undoubtedly delicious. Add cup of rice, stirring in with the onions and butter until a little toasty and fragrant. Overly moderate heat, add your half of a cup of white wine and stir constantly until fully absorbed.Add a half of a cup of broth and stir constantly until liquid is absorbed. This is the traditional step that is repeated and repeated until the rice is fully cooked. Like I said, you won’t need the whole 32 oz of broth but it’s nice to have. Be a taste tester and check the firmness of your rice periodically as you cook. You want it al dente. When the rice tastes as though it has only one or two more repeats to go, use the half of a cup of cream, stir until absorbed. If it is still not quite done, repeat with another half a cup of broth until fully cooked. Meanwhile, have the asparagus chopped and partly cooked in the oven. Throw in the asparagus and cheeses at the very end and mix until all is melted evenly. SERVE IMMEDIATELY!
The risotto is also paired nicely with grilled fish, take for instance tilapia:
It’s rich and melt-in-your-mouth terrific. My darling dear was very pleased. So pleased I was afraid dessert wouldn’t be much to look forward to.
But that was a silly thought, wasn’t it? I added a bit of cinnamon to Ghirardelli’s recipe and called it a night!