The first time I made risotto, I was scared. Not because it was Halloween, but because all I had ever heard was you have to stir and stir and it’s easy to mess it up. But I thought it could be a good way to bribe a friend who doesn’t get trick-or-treaters to answer the door. I tried this trick one year with my friend Wendy’s delicious Italian Sausage Risotto. Last year it was risotto again, but with add-ons: Shrimp and Polska Kielbasa!
Basic risotto needs onion, wine, hot stock and Arborio rice. It is labor intensive – if you consider stirring most of its 20 minute cooking time labor intensive. But it’s truly worth the attention. You get a delicious meal, you don’t have to participate in a less-than-favorite holiday (just speaking for myself), and in the end, everyone is happy. I served lightly browned Polska Kielbasa and gently sautéed garlic shrimp with fresh chives from my Salt Lake City Avenues garden as toppings, but it could be anything you like. Here’s the basic recipe.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 10 (or so) Crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups Arborio Rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken broth (heated to simmer)
- Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4-8 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (you decide how cheesy)
In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion and mushrooms in butter and olive oil until soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic and two cups of uncooked rice. Cook rice stirring constantly for three minutes. Add wine and stir until absorbed. Add hot stock ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly between additions. Do not add more stock until what you have put in has absorbed into the rice. It will take about 20 minutes of adding and stirring until rice is cooked. Taste – if too chewy, add hot water in ½-cup increments and stir until rice reaches desired doneness. Add Parmesan cheese, stir and check seasoning. Adjust as needed. Serve immediately.
Great on its own or with fresh herbs, grilled steak, chicken, vegetables (especially asparagus) or anything you like with rice. Use all the little bits and bobs in your stash of leftovers – throw them in or serve warmed and along side. Add a a green salad and a glass of wine and you have the perfect meal.
No waiting until Halloween anymore – this is worth the work. As a side note, “they” say risotto isn’t great as a leftover. I beg to differ. There was a bit left which I enjoyed with a grilled New York Strip the next day. Delicious!
Please take a moment and comment on this article. Click on subscribe to receive an e-mail when Alison publishes new articles. Alison is also National Books Examiner, National Community Issues Examiner, National Social Issues Examiner, and Salt Lake City Political Buzz Examiner. For a link to all of Alison’s comfort food articles, please click here. Thank you.