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Risotto--Cook-Off 21


Chris Amirault
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I've heard that wine is the best soaking liquid for saffron. The alcohol releases a few more of the alcohol soluble flavours. Then again, it could just be bullshit.

Actually this is true according to McGee - the hot water or stock releases the water-soluble flavors, and the addition of alcohol or fat releases the fat-soluable flavors.

Come to think of it, when I make my Persian rice, I put a spoonful of the saffron steeped in water along with some oil in the bottom of the pan and let it sizzle before adding the blanched rice. There must be something to that.

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Tonight, we had an early dinner and I made baby artichoke, asparagus and shrimp risotto. Just your basic risotto recipe. I saved some of the water from cooking the artichokes and asparagus and used it to replace some of the stock.

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enjoy!

N.

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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Last night I decided to make risotto with ramps.

I consulted the entry on RAMPS in Elizabeth Schneider's Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini for a few ideas.

Ended up separating the leaves from the white bulbs and red stems of the wild plant, slicing them into ribbons and sauteeing them in butter before adding a little heavy cream.

Then took a bulbous mushroom from the farmers's market that resembles porcini in many ways except the pale brown cap is rather small. Diced it and sauteed it in a separate pan until cubes turned a pale gold and started to contract, seasoning it before squeezing on lemon juice :shock: It was SO good (and new to me) I almost ate it all on the spot.

I blanched and shocked a few stalks of asparagus, reserving the tips and sauteeing small slices of the rest.

Potentially a bit of an overkill, but last week I boiled the trimmed leaves of an artichoke in chicken stock so they wouldn't go to waste. I combined the results (less than a cup) with ordinary stock.

The minced bulbs and stems of ramps were sauteed first before adding the rice. I didn't add the reserved vegetables until the end when they were accompanied by cheese and uncooked strips of prosciutto.

I had heard ramps were powerfully strong and that the leaves, especially sweetened and tastes more subdued with longer cooking. This proved true. The leaves were a wonderful touch, great with the mushroom and prosciutto. The bulbs, however, may have lost too much flavor in the process. The asparagus was superfluous.

****

One thing that has not been mentioned here is how good leftovers are as risotto fritters . Flatten them into pancakes. No need for binder. Wonderful fried as is, plain, on a bed of salad greens or topped with sour cream, tomato...

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"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Risotto was probably one of the first recipies I learned to make really well at a young age, passed down from my uncle.

The key to risotto is the liquid used to make it. Where it gets all its flavour from, so make sure the liquid is well flavoured.

One of my families favourites is Tomato risotto, (with wild mushroom, artichoke, and truffle peccorino coming in close behind)

For the Tomato risotto, simple make a well rounded tomato soup. (I use fresh or out of season fresh/frozen tomatoes, but have also done it and got good results with good quality canned products)

Strain it through a fine mesh strainer, pound the remains of the strainer to get all the flavour, and use that as your liquid. Usually finished with a mixture of cachcavale, peccorino, and regiano.

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It's been a while since I've polled folks for their input for the next cook-off. What do you say? Don't suggest anything American or European, btw, given the last two.

Depending on how broadly you intended to define 'American' this may or may not be a good suggestion but, how's about tamales? It requires a fairly specific technique like many of the past cookoffs, but there is a lot of room for variation there as well. Corn husks, banana leaves, sweet ones, savory ones, different fillings and accompaniments, dry vs. fresh masa, etc.- plenty to work with for a cookoff.

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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It's a great idea in many ways, but as someone who has spent the better part of a year trying to find fresh masa, I'm loathe to do a cook-off that requires a special ingredient that's so widely unavailable. And I ain't settlin' for no masa harina tamales! :angry:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Have we done roasted chicken? That seems so spring-y to me, though I cook and eat it year round. There does seem to be a lot of opinions about the best way to produce the perfect roasted bird.

~ Lori in PA

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

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

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

- Julia Child

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  • 3 weeks later...

Today's risotto:

Melt butter, heat minced garlic in it but don't brown it. Add rice, such that it's lightly coated by the fat and saute until it smells a bit like rice but hasn't browned or anything. Use water splashes to get the rice to form the sauce, since you are out of stock. Add about a teaspoon of salt as you're forming the sauce. When rice is just short of done, add an equal volume of frozen peas and let sit until the peas are just done. Optional: add parmesan and some of the chicken flavored poaching butter to enrich the risotto.

While you're preparing the risotto, poach chicken thighs in butter. When both sides have a deep golden crust, they're done. You may pull the thighs apart and add them to the risotto, but I rather liked 'em whole.

Serve risotto and chicken thigh together.

Emily

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  • 6 months later...

last night's dinner was a pear risotto that incorporated sage and anjou pears then was topped with slivers of smoked salmon(for john). will do this(minus the smoked salmon) at christmas to go with a pork roast.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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chris here's what i did:

2 pears in small dice- seed but leave the skins on, divided

about 12 fresh sage leaves - the ones i had were mid sized, minced, divided

1 cup cannaroni rice

6 cups vegetable stock

1 Tbsp oil - i used enova

2 medium sized shallots, diced

1/3 cup white wine - i used the last of a bottle of Macon-Lugny "Les Charmes" 2004

saute the shallots in the oil, add half the pears, half the sage and the rice to coat. deglaze with the wine. cook until absorbed then add the stock in the usual way till about halfway through the process(about 15 minutes). add the other half of the pears, continue with the stock until the rice is al dente. incorporate the remaining sage.

the sage didn't seem to overwhelm the dish at all and by incorportating the pears at different times i think it helped distribute the flavors. i think maybe a different pear, bosc for example, might be a different story

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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A question: Often in restaurants I have been served risotto that I thought was undercooked. I'm all for al dente; these actually seem chalky or gritty. But am I just ignorant? Is that a traditional way to serve risotto?

The best risotto I've had showed what is for me the perfect balance. It was a simple prawn risotto in Dublin's Mackeral restaurant. The prawns were fresh, and just cooked so they burst in the mouth - and the rice has exactly the same action - a firm but succulent... That's the yardstick for perfectly cooked risotto for me.

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  • 1 month later...

I think my favorite thing about risotto (besides how delicious it is) is what a great use it is for those bits and pieces you always have lying around the kitchen, particularly if you're a single gal with leftovers. Tonight's dinner was a classic example. I had some leftover roasted cauliflower, I always have onions, garlic and wine, and I just made a big vat of chicken stock a week ago.

Ta-da...risotto with roasted cauliflower! I started with a simple soffritto of onions and garlic, added the arborio and salted and toasted it, a quarter cup of Gewurtztraminer (since it's what I have open), and then the stock. Finished with the cauliflower, some salt and pepper, a bit of parsley, and some parmesan. Easy peasy, and really delicious. The burned bits on the cauliflower brought a really deep flavor to the risotto.

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

Queenie Takes Manhattan

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  I had some leftover roasted cauliflower

You had leftover roasted cauliflower???? I am in awe of your self control.

OK, that looks scrumptious. I suspect I'll be roasting cauliflower just to give this a try. I have to say that combining roasted cauliflower with risotto was truly an inspired act. Thank you for sharing this.

pat w.

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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  • 1 year later...

I know that this thread is a bit old, but here is a shrimp, asparagus and brown butter risotto I made not too long ago:

IMG_1960.jpg

Blanched the bottom two-thirds of asparagus and then pureed them with a little chicken stock. I reserved the tips for garnish. Made the risotto and added the puree after the last ladle of chicken stock was almost completely absorbed. Sauteed the shrimp and then topped the risotto with the shrimp and asparagus tips and then drizzled the brown butter on top just before serving.

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me

Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?

Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.

Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

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That's simply beautiful, mhberk! And I'm glad you revived this topic...I have a kilo of carnaroli rice that I lugged back from Italy, and I now have tons of ideas for what to do with it. Hopefully I turn out something as gorgeous and delicious as the shots on this thread!

ET fix spelling.

Edited by Sony (log)
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  • 11 months later...

We love risottos! Once you master the technique it is straight forward.

We have six of our favorites now up in the recipe section of our ezine http://theromantictable.com with more to come in the next months.

Besides Asparagus Risotto, my personal favorites are Mushroom Risotto with Cabernet Sauvignon and when we have some Duck Ragu left over, Duck Risotto, all listed if you are interested.

Susan, our recipe editor, likes to use a high-side heavy copper-clad-bottom stock pot when she makes risottos. Her theory is that the high sides help to hold in the fragrance and practically eliminate the splashes and stove top mess that lower side pans cause. And she swears by an olive wood spoon for stirring which causes less damage to the rice and stays cool and comfortable for the time it takes to make the risotto, about 18 to 20 minutes on the average.

Larry McGourty

TheRomanticTable.com Food and Wine News from the California Central Coast.

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