Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Emeril's Three Cheese Risotto

This was the other star performer in the anniversary dinner (which I started blogging about forever ago, but figure I should finish before I move on to the many other possibly more exciting events I should recap). 

I had always been intimidated by the idea of making risotto, since I'd heard it could be challenging, but I was feeling up to trying a challenge, so found this recipe, and it seemed managable. 

1 Tb olive oil
1 c chopped onions
salt and pepper (they specified white, but I just used what I had on hand)
6 cups chicken stock (between this and the sauce, I used 10 cups of chicken stock for one meal!!)
2 teaspoons of chopped garlic (I used a bit more)
1 lb Arborio rice (I found this at whole foods, in a bag near the other rices)
1 Tb butter 
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used the rest of the leftover pinto to make berry shortcakes. Reasonable, yes?)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup grated Romaino cheese (used leftovers for hte appetizers)
1/4 cup grated Asigo cheese
1 Tb chopped chives

(just an aside - buying 3 blocks of cheese (I grated what I needed with my amazing food processor, but still had 2/3 of a block of each left), plus buying a log of goat cheese for the salad meant that, when adding to the sandwhich cheese, normal pepperjack cheese, and string cheese we already had on hand, we had a total of 7 different kinds of cheese. Within a week, we were able to finish off all of these, save the string cheese. I'm not sure that this is a good thing)

Now, I ahve to admit that, usually, when it comes to onions (and garlic for that matter), I rarely follow the recommended amount. However, in this case, I resisted my urge to add the huge amount of onion that I usually use, and stuck with the 1 cup, which ended up being perfect. I still added extra garlic - but I stuck pretty close to what was recommended. 

Onto the cooking! The directions are quite short and clear, they just take a little work. 

Start by sauteing the onions over medium heat with the olive oil, salt and pepper, until they are slightly soft. Remember, they will continue to cook in the risotto, so they don't have to be "done" (about 3 minutes). 

Then, add the stock and garlic. I added the garlic a bit before the stock so that it could carmelize just a bit. 

Bring to a boil and reduce (my favorite word for this meal, apparently) for 6 minutes. 

Now, it's time to take this from soup to risotto. Add the pasta and (this is important) simmer it for 18 minutes, stirring constantly. After all that stirring for the sauce, I was a pro, and the time didn't pass too slowly. By the end of the 18 minutes, the broth was absorbed and the starch in the risotto had begun to break down. It should look creamy and bubbly. 

Here's where you take it from creamy looking to rich and creamy tasting. You add the butter, cream and all the cheeses and stir until everything is melted and incorporated into the rice. Simmer for just another 2 minutes, adding more salt and pepper if needed, and add in the chives. 

This dish is full of cheesy, delicious flavor, though I wouldn't necessarily describe it has having a strong flavor.

However, when paired with the lamb and its fig sauce, the creamy mildness of the risotto was the perfect balance for the spicy sweetness of the rest of the dist, and the risotto was elevated to sublime. 

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