Sunday dinner tends to be a decent sized production around here. I try my best to do something new, or at least challenging, but I’ve been leaning toward convenient all too often as of late.
Today I’m tackling risotto, which I’ve made before, but not regularly. Full disclosure, the stuff scares the hell out of me.
Risotto is the opposite of rice. You need to leave rice alone and let it do it’s thing. But when preparing risotto, it’s both hands on deck. Attention must be paid as you stir constantly and ladle stock each time it starts to dry up in the pan. In other words, don’t be messing around trying to cook other items, and have all your prep ready and nearby when you get in front of the burners.
It’s best if someone else is manning the meat or main. I had my guy on the grill tonight. Lucky me!!
I found the process to be meditative and relaxing, like kneading bread dough.
Metaphorically, risotto is much like that of a jaded human in the throes of growth. The rice starts out hard and impenetrable, but with the right combination of heat, patience and concentrated movement, it softens and becomes tender.
This is a beefed up version made with Cabernet wine and shallots. The baby bellas give it a rich, earthy flavor. The bite of Gorgonzola ties it in to the steak it is accompanying on the plate this evening. We grilled some asparagus to get some green in.
These are the main players. Don’t you be judging the little box of wine. I had a hard time not buying a fabulous bottle of Cabernet to split between this recipe and my glass, but I only grabbed this, and ditched the excess. I’m not much of a drinker these days, but I’m certainly an alcohol snob when I do imbibe. This was fine for cooking.
This turned out to be an amazing meal, you guys. Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.
I suggest reading through this once or twice before tackling it, and for goodness sake, proceed without distraction. Also, give yourself some grace if it doesn’t go right the first time. Risotto is an acquired art. I’ve screwed up too many pans by turning away from the stove.
Ok. Let’s get it on!!
What You Need:
4 c beef stock
1 c water
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
16 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
1 1/2 c arborio rice, nothing else will do
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c dry red wine
1/2 c Gorgonzola crumbles
salt and pepper, to taste
freshly chopped parsley for garnish
What You Do:
Prep your veggies and measure your ingredients out before doing anything else.
Place the beef stock and water in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat until simmering.
Heat the olive oil in a separate medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the shallot and mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms have softened and the liquid has evaporated, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the arborio rice and toast in the pan, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds.
Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil.
Cook the wine until it has reduced by half , about 2 minutes, then add 1 cup of the warm stock mixture.
Stir the risotto constantly, and repeat adding another cup of the stock mixture each time the liquid has almost been absorbed.
When all of the stock has been added and the risotto is tender, remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
Once the cheese is melted and blended in, it should look like this…
Let it stand a few more minutes to thicken, but not too long.
When you plate it, it should be creamy but able to stand.
Season to taste and give it a dash of parsley.
Lay whatever beautiful cut of beef you choose over the top. We had ribeye from our local butcher shop.
The risotto held that steak up. It was the perfect pairing.
I couldn’t resist taking a couple more shots for good measure.
Risotto is a bit of work that is definitely worth it if you want to bring some bang to the table. The next time around I think I’ll be trying a Marsala version with chicken. Stay tuned.
Happy Sunday. I hope everyone has a full tummy and a warm heart.
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