Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lemon Risotto, Mother's Day Menu, and All at Once

I discovered today that my kitchen is sufficiently organized that if I put a bar stool in the center, I can reach everything without standing up.  No, this is not pure laziness; this is my lower back being in total, absolute, complete revolt.  Oddly, I have full range of motion while sitting, so I can actually dry dishes and put them into the lower cabinets; twist around behind me to grab something from over the microwave; etc.  Just don't ask me to stand up for more than about 4 out of 10 consecutive minutes.  Awesome, huh?  It's getting better.  ((Fingers crossed.))


I'm taking a little break from the Mother's Day Feast preparation...  Tonight's menu includes ((did I write this last night?  Can't remember....)) chicken breasts stuffed with proscuitto and mozzarella with an orange buerre blanc, lemon risotto, roasted green beans, caprese salad, French bread with a special French butter, and Grand Marnier souffles with a blackberry/orange reduction.

A quick aside before we get to the risotto recipe.  People ask me constantly how to pull off doing numerous things with a relatively high degree of difficulty all at once.  The key is to be able to tell what you can reheat and what you can't.  Also, what you can do ahead and what you can't.  For example, because I didn't know what I was doing, I made the blackberry reduction last night.  It was experimental and so if it didn't turn out, I still had time to go back to my original plan of creme anglaise.  Obviously, the blackberry sauce can be reheated at a low heat without changing it.  The caprese salad will be better after several hours in the fridge.  The chicken can be stuffed ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to bake.  Veggies can almost always be prechopped and seasoned.  The risotto can be rewarmed in the oven with another little splash of chicken broth and some more butter.  The souffles?  Notsomuch.  It spreads out the "work" ((or the fun, if you are me)) and takes the stress out of something surprising you by not working out.

ANYWAY, lemon risotto.  I might have eaten a bite of this that I spilled off the floor.  If you either know me in real life or "know" me through this site, you understand I am a carbaholic.  I'm not sure I have met a carb or a starch that I didn't like.  This is still rich and creamy and carbalicious, but is spring-y-er with the lemon.  Yes, that's a word.

Risotto does NOT photograph well, but this site isn't about pretty pictures.  Those are just a very occasional benefit.  This is about the food and how to turn someone who can't make Mac and Cheese from a box into someone that can pull off a dinner party.  So there.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

What you need:

Makes 6 first-course or 4 main-course servings.

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel

What to do:

Here's the thing with risotto.  It's not like regular rice where you just dump the water in and let it go wild.  You actually have to work with it to get it to release and turn into something awesome.  It is kind of a little work, but it is totally worth it.

You are going to have two pots going.  Start by heating up the chicken broth in a large stock pot.  Once it starts simmering, turn the heat down.

Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with the olive oil in a second heavy, large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced shallots and saute until tender.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Don't burn them!

Add the rice into the pan with the shallots and stir for 1 minute. Then add the wine ((after taking a swig from the bottle)) and stir until evaporated.  It will take about 30 seconds. ((No, the wine will not result in one of those big flame thingies like you see on TV.))

Here is the part that gets a little long.  You are going to add your hot chicken broth to the pan slowly.  Start with about a cup.  Only once that is basically absorbed can you start adding the rest of the broth 1/2 cup at a time.  You HAVE to keep stirring it.  Not constantly, constantly, but pretty damn often.  Keep it up until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes.

Finally, stir in the cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Once the butter and cheese are melted, stir in the parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel. For the love of carbs and Gaga don't get lemon seeds in there.  Use cheesecloth if  you must because they are REALLY fucking hard to distinguish from the rice and that shit is hot as you are digging around in there.  ((No, I didn't do that THREE TIMES, why do you ask?))  Season the risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.


Nutritional Info:  Holiday calories don't count.  This is really fracking high.  Probably 400 for a small serving.


All right.  Time to get all Martha Stewart ((minus that prison part)) and decorate the table and maybe sneak another bite of risotto.

No comments:

Post a Comment