Risotto Workout: Cooking Class – Week 3

A picture of classic risotto

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


  1. Bring stock to a boil and hold at a bare simmer.  Add salt
  2. In a heavy saucepan,   heat butter and sauté onion until soft
  3. Add rice and sauté until grains are opaque and well coated with butter, but not browned.  Reduce heat.  Add white wine and stir.
  4. 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.
  5. Once creamy sauce is formed, immediately stir in Parmesan and season to taste.

Reheated risotto from class

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!

Chicken Sausage from Griggstown Quail Farm in Maryland


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