Tuesday night in cooking class, I felt like I had completed 20 straight sets of bicep curls while receiving a 30 minute spa facial complete with aromatics. This was my introduction to risotto; one that was well-received with hopes of a repeat meeting.
Chef had many options for us to choose from to personalize the risotto and enhance the basic flavors – mushrooms, currants, pine nuts, bacon… I chose a simple fennel bulb to add a bit of seasonality and sweetness to the dish. Fennel also adds some vitamin C, fiber, potassium and folate to diversify the nutrient profile. I added the fennel after sautéing the onion for a bit, and the pot instantly became very fragrant. With a bit of TLC, it’s rewarding to see the results of this workout as the starch leaches out of the rice and combines with the stock to create a ‘creamy’ sauce. I loved that we all got to use our creativity in class – one of my favorite things about cooking.
Our basic mise en place included:
- 5 cups stocks (I used chicken)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 oz butter or olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Bring stock to a boil and hold at a bare simmer. Add salt
- In a heavy saucepan, heat butter and sauté onion until soft
- Add rice and sauté until grains are opaque and well coated with butter, but not browned. Reduce heat. Add white wine and stir.
- Add a four-ounce ladle of hot stock and stir with a wooden spoon over moderate heat until stock absorbs or evaporates. Add another ladleful and continue stirring constantly until half of the stock is absorbed.
- Once creamy sauce is formed, immediately stir in Parmesan and season to taste.
J and I enjoyed the leftover risotto last night for dinner. I re-heated in a sauté pan adding chicken stock for moisture and, of course, stirring for about 10 minutes or so. I also cooked the chicken sausage from the CSA share (in a bit of vegetable oil with a cup or so of chicken stock in a closed sauté pan) and it was delicious. To round out the meal which was looking too monochromatic for my RD-blood, I cooked a handful of brussel sprouts that I acquired at Tuesday’s class. Chef had an abundance of these small cabbages after a demonstration so we each took a few handfuls home… my experiences with brussel sprouts is forthcoming!