Project: Cold Cereal is for Breakfast is back, today with a recipe for Creamy Parmesan Risotto. This is from a book put out by Real Simple Magazine boasting "meals made easy". I bought it well over a year ago, looked at all the pretty pictures and did nothing with it. There's a section in the book for "one-pot meals" and since this sounded easy, it's where I started. Risotto is something I've always enjoyed when I order it in a restaurant (as a main or as a side) but I was nervous about the constant stirring so I've never attempted to make it at home. Seriously, every time someone talks about making Risotto it's all "you HAVE to stir it CONSTANTLY!" because if you don't, well, you might as well throw the whole thing in the trash. That and you can pretty much forget about ever cooking anything again, ever, on account of the Risotto related shame. Also? The world might just stop spinning. I imagine legions of Italian women who walk around with fake arms, wooden spoons where a hook might be, because of Risotto related arm-falling-off due to exhaustion incidents.
What you'll need:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
(I used Becel instead, cause that's what we keep in the house)
1 medium yellow onion, finally chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Wine pairing: I just drank a glass of the wine I had for cooking, because it was there and it was open. This was another bottle from Barefoot Vineyards, I think it was a Chardonnay. Or maybe a Pinot? I can't remember and the fridge is all the way downstairs. Use your imagination. Anyway, I remember thinking it was nice for a white (not my go to) and that the Robeau actually had half a glass (he's not usually a wine drinker). So there's that.
Listening: Parker Spitzer on CNN in other room. Sorry, wish I had a better answer but, the truth will out. Their theme song is a little jazzy...it's almost like they think they're on PBS or some such.
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it is coated with butter and begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid is absorbed, 3 - 5 minutes.
At this point Real Simple goes into this Real Complicated, convoluted section talking about microwaving your chicken stock...and how you may have to do it more than once and cover it and then don't...and then my head exploded. It took me a while to realize that they were encouraging this kind of foolishness because they wanted to call this a "one-pot meal". Boo. Put your chicken stock in a pot, heat it up and be done with it.
4. Put your chicken stock in a pot, heat it up and be done with it.
5. Ladle 1/2 cup (I found that my ladle held exactly 1/2 cup) of the warm broth into the rice mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally (thanks, Real Simple!) until the broth is absorbed.
6. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup broth at a time, until the rice is cooked through but still firm. This should take 20 - 25 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, Parmesan and the remaining butter. Stir to combine and serve immediately.
8. While this would be a lovely, simple dish I was serving it as a main and wanted to create a little more interest so at this point I added probably 4 fistfulls of thawed frozen peas, another bit of Parmesan (you can never have too much parm, in my world) and some more pepper. I then garnished it with some chopped green onion and crispy bacon, both of which provided necessary crunch and flavour. The bacon / Parmesan combo is always so yummy, isn't it?
Verdict: A winner! Also, the "base recipe" from Real Simple is going to be a great starting point to create other Risottos. Asparagus and butternut squash are on my short list. Not to mention, I now no longer feel guilty for buying that cook book. Have you got any favourite flavours that you pair with Risotto? Wanna share?