This is a lovely dish to prepare for a few people. It takes time and should not be done on a day when you have to multi task in the kitchen. Risotto is a creamy rice dish made with a short plump grain which absorbs liquid well and has a high starch content. Unlike regular rice dishes which require no attention once put on to cook, this one requires your undivided attention from start to finish. You must also continuously stir the pot to separate the grains and incorporate the liquid, which must be added a little bit at a time. This cooking method goes quite contrary to all other rules of rice preparation which are basically, to never touch or disturb the process to avoid uncooked grains. The Arborio rice type lends itself perfectly to this dish.
I have coupled my recipe with porcini mushrooms which have a deep and woodsy taste. They are Italian in origin and are a delicious and delightful flavor profile in this dish. The mushrooms are easily reconstituted and the flavorful water is added along with chicken stock, imparting lovely flavors and a tan color to the rice. The addition of vegetables makes it a hearty and complete meal. I have added stove top grilled or sautéed shrimp which I find a perfect accompaniment to the risotto.
This dish is best cooked and served immediately.
Serves 4-5 easily as a main dish.
2 cups Arborio rice (Do not wash)
4 cups chicken stock, warmed
1/2 cup dried sliced porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic minced
1 leek, white part only finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tbsp parsley, fresh and chopped
1 tbsp basil, fresh chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 lemon, finely zested
Reconstitute dried mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Remove the softened mushrooms reserving the brown colored water to be used in the stock for the risotto. Add 4 cups chicken stock plus 1 cup mushroom infused water into a pot and bring to a boil. Keep on hand at a warm temperature for addition to the rice.
Note: it is important to have the stock heated as adding cold stock reduces the temperature and interferes with the cooking process each time you add liquid to the rice.
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In a deep non stick pan on medium to high heat add olive oil, butter, garlic, onion and leeks. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and coat well. Add a pinch of salt. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the grains are all glistening. Begin adding the warm broth to the rice, 1 ladle at a time. Stir well after each addition. Every time the liquid evaporates, add an additional ladle of warm stock. Keep stirring. This process takes around 15-20 minutes. Do not leave the stove for any length of time or the rice will stick and burn at the base.
Chicken stock just added to the rice.
When there is about 1 cup of broth remaining, add frozen peas. Continue stirring the rice and adding remaining liquid by ladle. This should take about 5 more minutes. By this time your rice grains should be al dente and plumped. The rice will be sticky and should not stick to the bottom of the pan.I added a bit of chopped Spinach for color here. This is completely optional.
Addition of cream and herbs to the risotto just before completing the dish.
Add cream, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan, chopped herbs and lemon zest. Mix together well and remove the risotto from the heat. The rice grains should be evenly cooked now and there should still be a hint of residual liquid. Season with black pepper and adjust the salt if needed. If your rice becomes cold before serving, add a little warm chicken stock. You may add a little grated Parmesan just before serving if desired.
2 lb shrimp or 5-6 per person
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp rum
1tbsp green onion, finely chopped
Lemon juice of half a lemon for shrimp after cooking.
Season shrimp with all of the ingredients indicated. Start to cook the shrimp just before the risotto is finished.
Heat a cast iron grill pan or a sauté pan to high heat. Spray some olive oil on pan and add the seasoned shrimp and cook for a few minutes until they down slightly and turn pink; about 4 minutes. Remove from heat to avoid over cooking. Squeeze some lemon juice over the cooked shrimp.
Plate the risotto in bowls and add a few shrimp on each serving. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, a bit of grated Parmesan and some lemon zest.