I don't think I could ever get sick of making and eating risotto. It's so much better when you make it yourself, although on nights when I simply don't have the energy but need to fulfill a craving, I admit to have used an instant box risotto. But even the box kind takes 20 or so minutes to make. So my point here is that you should try one of my homemade risotto dishes, make sure you go see this one: Risotto Con Olive e Peperoni Rossi, it is ridiculously addictive!
Risotto is basically made the same way every time, but there are three main varieties of rice: arborio, carnaroli, and vialone nano. Each one brings a slightly different texture to the dish. Arborio is the best-known and produces a dense risotto that can become too stiff if overcooked. Carnaroli is the most expensive, but I find it at my local Italian food store at a decent price. It yields tender yet firm grains and is ideal for risotto. It is the least likely to overcook.
Perfect risotto is easy to achieve, all you need is a good quality risotto rice, stock, a wide shallow pan, and 20 minutes of constant stirring while the rice cooks. There are NO short cuts here. Good risotto is made in stages. The key is to add hot, flavorful stock - a ladleful at a time - to the rice in the pan, stirring constantly until all liquid had been absorbed and the rice is tender but still firm (al dente).
Side note about why I giggle every time I say or read "al dente." Jim and I were wanting to eat dinner outside one evening, and I honestly can't remember who said it...but instead of suggesting we eat "al fresco" one of us said "al dente." We both still tease one another about the phrase mix up.
Let me show you how I made this Risotto Ai Quattro Formaggi! I'm super excited about this new little (gadget doesn't fit here) "thing" I bought from my new favorite cooking supply store. Faraday's is located in Austin near Lakeway. The staff there is super, very helpful and they stock everything! I was there for a cooking class and found this really cool terra cotta garlic baker.
You start with a large bulb of garlic and remove loose outer leaves. Cut off the top off the bulb so that each clove is open at the top.
I want to also let you know what I did with all the leftovers. Even though I ate this risotto straight for two days I still had about three cups left over. So, when I had the idea to make a broccoli and rice casserole, I used this leftover risotto.
I first cooked broccoli florets in boiling water until tender. Also, I baked a few boneless skinless chicken breast, then diced into bite size pieces. The last thing I did was mix the leftover risotto with the broccoli and chicken pieces. Dumped everything into an oven safe dish and sprinkled panko crumbs on top. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 and voila, broccoli rice and chicken casserole. Jim came home and I told him what was for dinner "Four Cheese Broccoli Rice Chicken Casserole." His response, "You used the leftover risotto didn't you?" Why yes, I'm being resourceful and not wasteful! In this economy we should all be thinking of ways to stretch meals.
What is your best trick for stretching meals?