The first anniversary of my first post was this past Saturday, so I thought I'd go back to basics to commemorate it. It's also a little ironic because I was a little reluctant to publish my previous risotto dish because I was apprehensive it wasn't crazy enough for this website. The dish I published this past summer used an altered method so I wanted to demonstrate the fundamentals, partially to take the mystery out of the dish.
So let's discuss a basic risotto method because this is a dish that requires some attention. Before you start, place stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low to keep warm. Heat fat (usually olive oil or butter) over medium heat in a flat-bottom skillet and add in some chopped onions or shallots to sweat. Toss the rice into the onions and stir to toast, then deglaze with white wine stirring until absorbed. Then add in 1 ladle of stock, continually stirring until it is absorbed. Continue to add stock, 1 ladle at a time and continually stirring before adding more stock. About half of the way through the stock, start tasting the rice. The rice won't be fully cooked yet, but keep adding stock until it's al dente. Once the rice reaches this consistency, add your flavorings, shut off the heat and stir in a thickening agent (usually butter and/or cheese).
Demonstrate the process of making a basic risotto.
Page 163 of the recipe guide of Top Chef University DVD set.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium shallots, chopped and divided
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups assorted wild mushrooms, (such as chanterelles, shitakes, creminis, etc.) cleaned, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2/3 cup dry white wine, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
6 cups chicken stock, warmed as described above
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
1. In a large sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Once hot, add garlic and half of the chopped shallots. Cook until translucent, approximately 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until wilted. Deglaze with 1/2 cup white wine and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over high heat until the wine has absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a large flat-bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add the remaining shallots and sweat until translucent. Add the rice to toast, ensuring the rice is coated in the oil. Deglaze the rice with the remaining white wine and continually stir until evaporated.
Once the wine has been absorbed, add 1 ladle of stock to the rice, continually stirring until it has absorbed before adding another ladle, as described above until the rice is al dente. All of the stock may or may not be needed. Fold in the mushrooms and parsley, then remove from heat. Add in the butter and stir to melt, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the Parmigiano.
On the surface, this dish appears to be rather pedestrian, but it yielded incredible flavor. I've also had issues in the past with the consistency of risotto but this time it was very creamy, and it spread once it was plated into my bowl.
On a side note, I grew up (and still live) in Silicon Valley and have been a San Francisco 49ers fan for 30+ years, so you can imagine my disappointment with the outcome of this past Sunday's game. I spent the afternoon with friends but did not attend empty-handed. I adapted Chef Marcela Valladolid's ceviche recipe using cod to be eaten salsa style with tortilla chips.