Risotto - you can make it

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A lot of people won't even try to make risotto because they think its either too hard or too time consuming. But really, its not that hard and if you plan out the rest of your meal well, its not that time consuming either.

The first time I made risotto it turned out like crap. But the 2nd and 3rd and 4th time, it was completely awesome. So, don't give up if it doesn't work out on your first try.

I get the majority of my recipes from allrecipes.com. Here is the link for the risotto I made last: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Gourmet-Mushroom-Risotto/Detail.aspx

Print that out and buy the ingredients. Actually, scale down the recipe size because its freaking huge. You could feed a family of 12 on the listed size as a full meal. In my case, I scaled it down to 3 and even then, I only added 1 package of mushrooms.

Also, you can use any type of mushroom that your grocery store carries. Since making dinner is enough work, I buy the sliced ones so I have less work to do. If you can't or don't feel like printing out the recipe here it is, with my alterations:

Ingredients
  • 3 cups chicken broth, divided (I use Natures Promise Organic Low Sodium Chicken broth)
  • 1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb mushrooms (I like portabello or shitake)
  • 3 stems green onion, chopped (or scallions or shallots)
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped chives (dried in the spice aisle is what I use)
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs and 2 tsp Parmesan cheese (yeah right, don't measure this)
  • salt and pepper to taste
The picture shows an entire meal I made; broiled filet mignon, mushroom risotto and corn. If you are planning on an entire meal, here is what you need to do.

Create a assembly line. Get out the rice and measure it. Chop up the mushrooms and green onions and either put on a plate or leave on your cutting board. Open the chicken broth. Measure out the white wine. Now, prep all of the other food you are making. In my case, I seasoned the steaks, turned the broiler on, put the steaks in a pan, opened the can of corn, drained it, and put butter into a saucepan to melt with the corn.

Now you're ready to start on the risotto. You have about 7 minutes of risotto cooking before you need to give it all of your attention. The recipe directions will be in black and my comments/adjustments in red.

Directions
1. Pour the chicken broth into a saucepan and put on medium-low heat.
2. Warm 2 tbs of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. I don't ever measure the amount of oil. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Depending on how dry the mushrooms look, sometimes I'll add in extra oil to really make them juicy. When they're cooked, put them and their liquid into a bowl and set aside.
3. Add 1 tbs of oil to the skillet and stir in the chopped green onion. Cook for 1 minute. Add in the rice, stirring to coat with the oil, about 2 minutes. I rarely do this for 2 minutes, probably because I keep the flame pretty high. When the rice changes to a pale golden color, you know you are good. Pour in the wine and stir until it is absored. Depending on how high you have your heat, this can take up to 2 minutes.

4. Pour the chicken broth into a measuring cup. It makes it much easier to pour into the saucepan. If you're making a complete meal that takes about 20 minutes, nowis the time to get everything going. Now, pour 1/2 to 1 cup of broth into the rice mixture. The more you pour, the longer its going to take for the rice to absorb it. It says stir constantly. I'm lazy and don't. So I'll stir it to make sure the liquid is moving around and then leave it for about a minute and repeat. When the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid it will look filmy.
When it gets to the point that you think if you leave it another minute it will stick to the pan or burn, add in more chicken stock. (See picture for when I add more) Repeat adding in chicken stock until the rice absorbs all of the liquid. This will take about 20 minutes. I test the rice now. If its not soft enough, I'll add a bit more of chicken stock, even if its cold just to make sure the rice fluffs up enough.
5. Lower the heat and stir in the mushrooms. I do this when the rice has almost completely absorbed all liquid. Once the mushrooms are stirred in nicely into the rice, add the chives (I used the dried ones from the spice aisle in the grocery store), then the butter and finally the Parmesan cheese.

Remove from the heat. I keep stirring until all of the butter is melted. I also never measure the Parmesan cheese. The risotto should be sticky, clumping together and have a filmy look. Taste test again and then add in salt and pepper to your liking. I've noticed that shitake mushrooms and low sodium chicken broth still make for a pretty salty risotto.

The rest of your meal should be done now, so plate everything and enjoy!
If its not done, the risotto will stay warm for about 20 minutes. If your meal just won't come together in that time, keep the risotto on the heat, but very, very low and make sure to keep stirring it so it won't stick to the pan. You can also add in more butter to keep it moist.

Happy Risotto Eating!

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