I love risotto. If it's on the menu, I order it. If it's not included as a side, I ask for a substitution. For instance, one of our local restaurants serves a delicious halibut dish with capellini pasta. I love capellini, but I love risotto even more. Especially with seafood. Most restaurants are perfectly willing to make the substitution, so why not ask?
I first discovered my love for risotto at a friend's home many years ago. He stood over the pot, stirring and adding wine, while sipping on a glass himself. We all stood around chatting as the risotto cooked and once it was al dente, he added some beautiful mushrooms, another splash of wine and some Parmesan. It was love at first bite and I knew I had to make it for our next dinner party.
Unfortunately, no matter how many times I've made it, it's never quite as good as Scott's or that which I can order in a restaurant. I follow the recipe and am patient, even cooking past the recommended amount of time, stirring, stirring, stirring. Somehow, the rice never feels quite done, at least not to my liking. So I was beyond thrilled to discover this recipe from Ina Garten's cookbook How Easy Is That? She says she found the process for the recipe from Donna Hay, a cookbook writer from Australia. Not only is it quick and easy, but now I can make one of my favorite appetizers (risotto cakes) without spending the entire day in the kitchen. Hallelujah!
Easy Parmesan "Risotto"
Ina Garten - How Easy Is That?
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and stir until heated through. Serve hot.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Hooray for easy recipes! Thanks, Ina and Donna!
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