Friday, May 31, 2013

How to Make Great Risotto at Home

  1. Rice is a staple food in many of the Mediterranean countries. But in Italy, it seems to have made its appearance into dishes around about the 14th century. Maybe from contact with the folks from the Iberian Peninsula, maybe from explorers who brought it back to the Italian shores.

    No matter when rice made its way to Italy, one of the best places it grows in the entire country is just outside of Milan. Lots of flat land for easy irrigation and lots and lots of humidity combine to produce the perfect climate for growing rice. And has helped make rice a staple in many regional Italian dishes.

    One of the most popular rice dishes is risotto. There are a number of cute anecdotes which purport to tell about how rice came to be flavored with saffron. And the most famous of these involves a 14th century stained glass worker putting saffron into the dishes of rice at a marriage feast. But no matter how it came to be, some of the best risotto dishes I have ever tasted have been flavored with this wonderful spice from the flower of the saffron crocus.

  2. There are in general four ingredients in making risotto. The first is the soffritto, which is a melange of vegetables, onions, and olive oil. Soffritto is the vegetable base to a risotto and as such is prepared first by being sauteed in the pan in which the risotto will be prepared. Next you add broth into the soffritto, with beef, vegetable or chicken and then you add the main flavoring ingredient. Which in many cases will be saffron, but can also be small pieces of beef or chicken

    When these are all nicely combined, you finally add the rice. Italian rice has nice fat grains that can soak up a lot of liquid and still not get all sticky like Hawaiian or some Chinese rice.

    Risotto is a very popular dish and most cooks have their own secret blend d of spices, and a special combination of the vegetables that make up the soffritto. You can also find a great deal of controversy as to when to add the spices during the cooking process, Because risotto is fairly complex food to prepare, even though the ingredients are pretty simple, you wind up with special traditional family recipes being handed down from one generation to the next. And these are guarded with an almost religious zeal.
  3. Italian Risotto
  4. Cornish hen with risotto and chocolate sauce and cognac
  5. Ingredients

    ½ cup uncooked Arborio rice
    1/3 cup uncooked pearl barley, roasted in the oven until golden brown
    1 c. teaspoon finely chopped shallots
    ½ c. tsp garlic, finely chopped
    ½ cup white wine
    4 cups chicken broth
    1 c. tablespoons of blanched celery root and diced
    1 c. to table celery blanched and diced
    1 c. tablespoons of butternut squash, diced and blanched
    Brandy sauce and chocolate1 cup demi-glace
    1 ounce Red wine
    1 ounce cognac
    1 c. teaspoon soy sauce
    1 c. tablespoons of chocolate
    ¼ c. tsp fresh tarragon
    2 c. tablespoons of butter
    ½ c. teaspoon finely chopped shallots
  6. Method: 

    Risotto Sweat the shallots and garlic in a saucepan with the desired amount of butter. Add uncooked Arborio rice and stir until rice is completely covered with melted butter. Add wine and cook until absorbed. Add uncooked pearl barley and roasted.

    Stir until the mixture covered Add chicken broth one ladle at a time until nothing left. The rice should be cooked to three quarts. Remove from heat and cool by spreading on a baking sheet to accelerate the cooling process.

    Finally, place the risotto on a plate and add a couple of ladles of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add the blanched vegetables.

    Once the mixture is completely absorbed and the rice hot, season to taste and place in the middle of the dish. Brandy sauce and chocolate Saute the shallots in the butter.

    Add the chopped tarragon. Add red wine and flambé, reduce by half. Add the brandy and flambé, reduce by half. Add demi-glace and reduce by one third. Finally, add the soy sauce and chocolate.

    Once the melted chocolate and incorporated into the sauce, pour into the dish. Cornish hen Season with salt and pepper both sides of two chicken breasts Cornwall.

    Enter in a frying pan until it reaches a golden brown on both sides and finish cooking in the oven for five to six minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove and let stand for two minutes. Presentation Place the risotto in the middle of the dish.

    Slice the chicken breasts and place in Cornwall over the risotto. To decorate, spoon sauce over and the edges of the plate.

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