About Me

Hi! My name is Lexy Briest. I am a teacher, artist, wife, and best of all mom to Delilah Poppy. This blog is meant to document what I love and discover along the way of becoming a mommy, which to me is a never ending journey. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Relaxation through Risotto

 There is something so relaxing about making risotto. Risotto has a meditative quality to it. There is structure involved in preparing and cutting your accompanying ingredients. In stirring and ladling the stock, watching it be absorbed and repeating the process. It is a quiet process, with a saucepan of simmering stock on a back burner, the slow hiss of vegetables being sauteed in luxurious olive oil and a pad of organic butter.

The key to good great risotto is exceptional ingredients. There aren't that many so it is worth it to be choosy. After that, you can combine it with anything on hand. I had a few select ingredients tucked away in the freezer from a recent Trader Joe's adventure calling my name.

I recommend making a risotto earlier in the day- a weekend for most of us. It does take about 30 minutes if you are a speedster and can be done after work. But if you want to reveal in its glory and enjoy the process give yourself 45 minutes of stress free "me time." The payoff is this lusciously rich yet light dish that tickles your taste-buds and soothes your mind, body and soul. I'm on cloud 9 just thinking about having it over 19 hours ago. The most difficult part is not eating it all. I can't wait to puree it for Delilah and watch her eyes roll back in her head at the flavor profiles. Enjoy!

Late Autumn Risotto                                        

Basic Risotto:
10 sage leaves, stems discarded
1 sprig rosemary
1 qt good quality low sodium vegetable stock
Olive oil
3 tbsp organic unsalted butter
1/2 a onion, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup semi-dry or dry white wine (that you would enjoy drinking)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Autumn Topping:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 a onion, chopped
1 lb sliced mushrooms (cremini and shitakie)
1/2 cup sliced leek, white and light green only                          
10-12 frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
roasted brussel sprouts, optional                                            

salt and pepper

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tbsp butter in a large, heavy skillet on medium-high. Fry the sage leaves and rosemary sprig, 2-3 minutes per side, then remove and drain on paper towel. Add 1/4 of the onion to the pan till fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms to sautee till tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. If needed, add more oil or butter before sauteing leeks and artichokes till lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper then remove from the pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, simmer the stock in a saucepan on medium-low. If needed, pour a glug of the wine to deglaze the pan and remove burnt bits. Heat 1 tbsp each of olive oil and butter. Saute the remaining onion 2-3 minutes before adding the garlic, 1-2 minutes more. Add the rice to the pan to toast the grains till fragrant, 1 minute. Add the wine, stirring as the rice absorbs the liquid. Once the wine has been absorbed, add one ladle  of stock, stirring until it has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Then repeat, adding stock one ladle at a time, stirring until the rice has absorbed it, about 2 minutes each time before repeating. Make sure to stay nearby to stir almost constantly.  This process takes about 20 minutes for the rice to become tender and release its starches. You may have a ladle of stock leftover or you may need to add water at the end if you run out of the stock- it depends on the rice. Once the rice has absorbed as much liquid as it will, turn the heat off and add 1 tbsp more of butter and the Parmesan cheese.  Spoon the risotto into your bowl. Top with sauteed vegetables. Lay a sage leaf or two on top and break up with fork when ready to eat. And then savor it! For some extra protein you can add sauteed cannellini beans or crisp pancetta.

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