Risotto: Time Well Spent

Drew is such a dear; we both tear up whenever raw onions are near, but he always volunteers to chop them so I don't have to.
Drew is such a dear; we both tear up whenever raw onions are near, but he always volunteers to chop them so I don’t have to.

Alicia is so pleased to bring you her SECOND post on this blog.  Drew noticed that our blog got the most views when Alicia writes, so he told her to write something more!

Before leaving home for my young-adult life, I made sure my mom, who happens to be Italian-American, taught me how to make risotto.  Why, you ask?  There is no comparison to great risotto.  It is simply divine and words do not do it justice.  It is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.  Since moving to Italy, I have noticed that making risotto is a great way to have “Italian Night” here at home without the 60-80 euro price-tag associated with going out to eat.  Of course, the real/best reason for risotto night, which can sometimes happen once a week here, is that Porcini Risotto is one of Drew’s favorite dishes.

If I had to make a slogan for Italian food, it might be, “Simple, seasonal and fresh.  Because you’re worth it.”  The thing is, Italians don’t mind spending 2 hours at least to prepare something from scratch each day.  Their later dinner hour (8pm) allows them to do this even on working days.  They take time to make good, REAL food, instead of the processed garbage that seems to be the norm in America whenever I go back there.  And aren’t you worth it?  Your body deserves to be nourished, your tongue deserves to actually taste something delicious, and your family and friends deserve a couple hours of your company every so often.  I’m not saying EVERY night should be risotto night, but I am saying that the beauty of a great meal can be prepared at home with FRESH, REAL ingredients!

A word of warning: If I had to make a slogan for RISOTTO, it would be, “Babysitting the pan WILL be worth it… Eventually…”  This is because in order to make risotto, the rice and vegetables must be moved around the pan with chicken broth 1 ladle-full at a time as it slowly absorbs the moisture.  This slow-moving process  of adding a ladle-full, while stirring the rice constantly creates a rich, creamy texture that is an experience close to heaven.  So if you choose to follow the directions below, you will unfortunately need to stand in front of the stove for at least 45 minutes, but it will be time well-spent.  Of course, it always seems to take less time when my Mom cooks it, so I guess Christina Pashby holds some kind of secret in her inner-cook.

Here is our photo journal of how this perfect dish is made.  I would like to add that most Italians do not cook risotto in a wok, but since my parents came to Italy for Christmas, my mom recommended that I use the wok.  Drew and I were married in July and were glad to have received this wok from my long-time friend, Allison Glenn.  And I have to say that, yes, Chris Pashby was right.  (Since we don’t have a large stock-pot) The wok IS the best way to go in this household.

We hope you will enjoy and be able to create your very own risotto too!

All of our Ingredients: White wine, 2 bowls of chopped mushrooms, 1 large bowl of abrorio rice, 1 diced onion, 3 Tbs butter, parmesan cheese
Step 1: Saute the onion in 1-2 Tbs butter.
Vegan choice: Use olive oil instead or Earth Balance Vegan Butter.
Step 2: Add the mushrooms to the sautéed onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
Step 3: Add the Abrorio rice and let it mix with the onions and mushrooms for a few minutes.
Step 4: Add the white wine and let it soak into the rice mixture. Traditional recipes tell you to add 1/3 cup of wine, but I just eyeball it.
Step 5: This is the longest and most tedious step. Pour warm chicken stock ladle-full at a time into the risotto and mix in. Keep moving the risotto around the pan.
Vegan Option: Use Organic Vegetable Stock instead of Chicken Stock.
This is what the risotto should look like when it is ready: Creamy and delicious!
After the rice looks creamy and delicious on its own, add the parmesan cheese. You could also use pecorino or grana, our favorite. If you are Vegan, skip the cheese and know that if you prepared the risotto properly in the first place, it will be creamy enough BEFORE the cheese is added.
Drew likes to help out at this stage of the risotto preparation, adding cheese.
Our pastor, an American who is married to an Italian, gave away this little trick. At the very end of all cooking, add a Tbs butter and stir it around for extra creaminess.
Porcini Risotto: Heaven on a Plate.
A Typical Maul Italian-Style Dinner includes: a lovingly prepared main course, an enormous insalata mista (salad), great wine, and The Daily Show from the day before. After all, not being in America, we need to keep up with our non-biased American news. 😉
This is why I make risotto; HAPPY DREW

One thought on “Risotto: Time Well Spent

  1. Looks great! We will let you know how our version of your recipe comes out. Danielle makes a version where she uses olive oil instead of butter in the earlier step, but adds a little butter at the end like you do.

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