Hello friends of Stephers,
I am Cinr/Cinders/CC/Cindy/... I guess I go by anything.
In college, Steph and I shared an affinity for Italian, and in summer 2005 I had the great fortune of spending the summer in the most wonderful place, Florence, Italy.
As a poor college student living on loans and a part-time job, I had little money to go out to eat. To go to Italy and not have tons of money to spend on delicious food, this is a food crime. However, one food I did get plenty of, compliments of the hotel we were staying at, was risotto.
Before summer 2005, I had not the slightest idea what risotto was and the first time they served it I was in shock. Excuse me, this is Italy, shouldn't you be serving me pasta everyday? Rice? Has Italy recently been taken over by Asians because this just does not make sense to me.
Remember, I was young and ignorant at the time so don't judge me too harshly.
It has now been five years since that splendid summer of risotto and I haven't had much of it since then. As I was flipping through my cookbooks deciding on what to contribute to this blog, I saw page after page of risotto recipes and nostalgia took over.
The recipe used comes from a Perfect Italian cookbook by Parragon Publishing
5 cups simmering chicken stock - I substituted for 4 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of water
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter - we only used 2 tbsp
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 3/8 cups (10 oz.) risotto rice
8 oz of roasted vegetables - we went with red and green bell peppers and added a little bit of garlic
3/4 cup (3 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese - after going to the TJ's to buy this ingredient this morning I forgot to use it *sigh*
salt and pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs - basil from my new kitchen plant
Start off by heating the stock/broth in a pot. Once it has boiled, bring it down and continue to have it simmer. You'll be adding this gradually to the risotto in a bit.
Heat the oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a "deep pan" over medium heat. When the butter is melted add the onions. Once the onions have acquired a nice golden color (if they are brown, you cooked them for too long), reduce the heat and add the rice. Mix to coat the rice in oil and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes, or until the grains are translucent.
At this point you will gradually add the stock/broth you have had simmering on the stove top. I used a ladle to add while my wonderful friend and neighbor, Melly, stirred the rice. This is a long process (15-17 minutes) of adding the stock and then stirring, and as the broth is absorbed by the rice you add more. I recommend having a friend there share in the experience because it will help the time pass faster, but make sure you are paying attention not to overcook the rice or to drown it in broth.
We didn't use all the broth, so don't feel like you have too. There was 1/3-1/2 cup left over when we finished. Once you have finished adding the broth, add the vegetables.
Make sure there is still some broth left because after you add the vegetables you'll cook it for another 5 minutes. We cooked it for 6 minutes, just waiting for the broth to absorb enough to make the risotto creamy and not drowning.
At this point you can add 1 tbsp. butter, mix well, and then sprinkle in the Parmesan until it melts. We didn't partake in this final step mostly because I forgot, tehehe, but despite that the risotto turned out delicious.
Looks good AND tastes good.
Well, it's been nice visiting, I hope we do this again sometime.