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Risotto--Cook-Off 21


Chris Amirault
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Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.

For our twenty-first Cook-Off, we're making risotto. Up here in the northern hemisphere, it's a great time for risotto with spring vegetables arriving daily -- asparagus, morels -- and it's also time for the last few weeks of good lobster. But risotto is a great dish that allows for remarkable variation no matter the season. It's also a dish that relies upon some fundamentals (a fantastic stock pays great dividends) and that rewards tradition and experimentation both. Finally, for reasons that I've never quite understood, it tends to terrorize some first-timers -- which makes it perfect for the supportive atmosphere of the cook-offs.

Thanks to Craig Camp's excellent Risotto Course and the Q&A that followed, we've already got a good base for our cook-off. In addition, you'll be able to read up on vegan risotto, vanilla risotto, the scientific issues related to risotto stirring (very complex reading, I warn you), and the different rices used.

So get stirrin', folks!

Chris Amirault

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I think I can say I have pre-participated in this cookoff, several times!  :smile:

It's all been leading up this, right, Susan? :laugh::wink:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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This should be great! I've made risotto a few times and didn't find it difficult, but there may be nuances I'm missing. My first few spears of asparagus are saluting me in the garden and I find risotto great for when I only have a few of them to use.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

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"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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Not that I needed the prodding, but every few months I do a seafood (scallops and shrimp) risotto with saffron and it's looking like it's that time again...

Edited by TongoRad (log)

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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I made a chocolate risotto once that was a bit weird, but very tasty.. like the ultimate comforting chocolate rice pudding.

I make a lot of savoury risotti.. might be interesting to look into sweet ones. There have to be more!

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Excellent, this will spur me to try the lemon risootto I've been wanting to make for quite awhile.

One of my favorte basic risottos that I make often is with tomato, pancetta and hot pepper. Yum!

Time to make up another batch of good stock as well. I'll make them with cubes if I don't have homemade stock in the freezer but great stock makes a nice difference.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Diane Seed has a lot of great risotto recipes in her book 100 Italian Rice dishes.. here are 2 intriguing ones.. a Rose Petal Risotto, made with roses, rose wine, and rosewater.. it was reportedly served to D'Annunzio and Eleonora Duse in the 1930s...

the other one that I noticed is a sweet one, a souffleed orange risotto with orange, almonds, orange peel and orange liqueur.

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To put some challenge into this, I might make a dessert/ sweet risotto. Klary, could you point me to the recipe for the souffleed orange risotto with orange, almonds, etc.? If necessary, I could look for a book in the library.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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didn't know this was coming up but last night i made my first risotto - asparagus with prosciutto.

i cobbled a recipe together from the article Lydia did in Fine Cooking and one in Cooking Light. since i wasn't sure if johnnybird would like it or not i halved the recipe so it would provide 3 servings - one each for our dinner and one for john's lunch.

8 stalks of asparagus

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot

1 medium onion

1 cup arborio rice

saffron

1/2 tsp dried thyme

3 cups vegetable stock

5 medium slices of prosciutto

1 cup mixed cheese - grana padano, aged asiago, parmigano

cook the asparagus in salted water about 4 minutes. remove and when cooled slightly cut into pieces, reserving the tips for presentation.

place the prosciutto on a pan that is sprayed with non stick spray and put into a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. it should have dried/crisped up nicely.

heat the olive oil in a pan. add shallot and onion. cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. add the rice and cook, stirring constantly until the rice is coated with the oil. add the saffron (i used what was left in a jar - maybe 1/2 tsp?) and the thyme and cook about 1 minute. i added a ladle of heated stock at a time stirring constantly - about 15 minutes. about 10 minutes in i added the cut asparagus stalks. the risotto was basically done at this point so i took it off the heat and added half the cheese. served in a bowl with the rest of the cheese, the asparagus spears and the crumbled prosciutto as well as a green salad.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

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Here's my Shrimp and Saffron Risotto:

gallery_21237_2573_9099.jpg

It made for a hell of a meal, perhaps even elegant. The aromas are definitely intoxicating. The cast of characters...

1 cup Arborio

3 cups Shrimp Stock(*)

1 large Shallot- very finely chopped

1/8 tsp. Saffron threads- soaked in 1 Tbsp water

1 3" sprig fresh thyme

1 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 cup White Wine

4 Plum Tomatoes

1/2 lb. Jumbo Shrimp

Olive Oil as required

Salt to taste

(*)OK- I cheated here and boiled up 3 cups of Clam Juice with the shells of the shrimp, some peppercorns and thyme to make the stock in about 30 minutes. It's not a bad cheat at all, to tell you the truth.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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To put some challenge into this, I might make a dessert/ sweet risotto.  Klary, could you point me to the recipe for the souffleed orange risotto with orange, almonds, etc.?  If necessary, I could look for a book in the library.

it's in the book The Top One Hundred Italian Rice Dishes by Diane Seed, which, despite it's suspicious title, is really a very good cookbook with lots of interesting ideas for rice.

Don't run off to the library though, because within 10 minutes or so, you'll have the recipe by PM :smile:

edited to add: the chocolate risotto recipe is here

Edited by Chufi (log)
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What shape pan do people prefer for risotto? I've always used a saucepan or saucier, but I know the Mauviel "risotto pan" is shaped more like a sautepan -- that is, wider with shorter sides. It seems to me that the stock would evaporate more quickly that way, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing. I have a new copper sautepan that I'm dying to use, but I'm not sure if it's the best pan for the job.

Any preferences?

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As part of tonight's Dinner:

Saffran Risotto topped with sauteed wild mushrooms and pancetta. Oh, and lots of parmigiano reggiano.

gallery_41870_2503_243258.jpg

The great thing about this dish is that it's a huge hit with young and old alike. It's real comfort food. My little guy asks for it pretty regularly.

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What shape pan do people prefer for risotto? I've always used a saucepan or saucier, but I know the Mauviel "risotto pan" is shaped more like a sautepan -- that is, wider with shorter sides. It seems to me that the stock would evaporate more quickly that way, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing. I have a new copper sautepan that I'm dying to use, but I'm not sure if it's the best pan for the job.

Any preferences?

Janet, I've always used my medium Le Creuset dutch oven for risotto, but I'm thinking about using my Sitram Profisserie chef's pan for the next batch.

Shaya, that looks wonderful! What kind of mushrooms are those?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Janet, I've always used my medium Le Creuset dutch oven for risotto, but I'm thinking about using my Sitram Profisserie chef's pan for the next batch.

Shaya, that looks wonderful! What kind of mushrooms are those?

Janet - I also use my Le Creuset dutch oven and it works wonderfully. Although I've seen a shorter, wider-rimmed le creuset that looks like it would be even better.

Chris, thanks for the kind words. The mushrooms include king eryngi, shiitake and cremini. I sauteed for awhile in olive oil with a bit of garlic and thyme, added white wine then added a bit of butter.

By the way, is there any reason why you are thinking of switching pots? How is this chef's pan different?

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By the way, is there any reason why you are thinking of switching pots?  How is this chef's pan different?

I think that I'd like a bit more rapid control of the heat, which the Sitram will provide. The cast iron is, of course, less responsive.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Gee I didnt realize tonights dinner was the hot trendy thing for this weekend. After I decided to freeze the chicken staring at me for the past 2 days...I decided on shrimp and asparagus risotto.

Made up some chicken stock from base with asparagus trimmings scallion and shrimp shells, sauteed the rice with scallion and a smashed garlic clove and started to hit it with the stock. Dusted the shrimp with cornstarch and cayenne and sauteed with more garlic and scallion. The asparagus went into the risotto in the last few min...shrimp got some butter swirled in and plated with romano cheese....Yummy

tracey

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Maxine

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I made risotto with smoked salmon, leeks and mascarpone last night. I decided to use my copper saute pan and was very impressed with it -- it's definitely going to be my risotto pan from now on.

Here's the mis en place:

gallery_7258_2197_64639.jpg

3/4 cup minced leeks (missing from the photo -- they were already in the pan)

1 cup rice

1/2 cup brut champagne (I didn't have any white wine)

1/4 cup dill

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1-2 tablespoons minced chives (for finishing)

3 oz. smoked salmon (approx.)

Plus a drink -- makes all the stirring much more enjoyable.

Melting 1/4 cup of butter:

gallery_7258_2197_26457.jpg

I sauteed the leeks in the butter for a couple of minutes, then added the rice:

gallery_7258_2197_34045.jpg

After the champagne and the first ladle of broth had been mostly absorbed:

gallery_7258_2197_22481.jpg

I used 1 cup of clam juice, plus about a cup of chicken stock I had leftover, plus 4 cups of water. I ended up using about 5 cups of the mixture.

When the risotto was about 3/4 of the way done, I added most of the dill:

gallery_7258_2197_14488.jpg

When the rice was done, I added 1/4 cup mascarpone, the rest of the dill, the lemon zest and most of the salmon (reserving some for finishing):

gallery_7258_2197_61422.jpg

Plated:

gallery_7258_2197_326.jpg

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Here's my Shrimp and Saffron Risotto:

gallery_21237_2573_9099.jpg

Shrimp and Saffron Risotto Recipe has been added to RecipeGullet, with a bit more detail.

JAZ- I'll second your suggestion for a drink (or two :cool: ) while stirring. I was enjoying a Hoegaarden white ale while I made mine, and it accompanied the finished product quite well.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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