Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In The Kitchen: Real Easy Risotto

My “In The Kitchen” series is back from hiatus. OK, so some of you didn’t even miss it. But my three subscribers on YouTube probably did. :P

I started out doing these demos to share basic cooking techniques. But then I realized that my cooking style is pretty simple since I don’t like to do a lot of work. So really, I don’t use a lot of fancy culinary techniques. That’s when I decided to demonstrate some of my basic recipes. The challenge with that, I’ve found, is that it’s hard to explain the steps of the whole dish in 10 minutes, which is the max on YouTube. (I’m a little OCD with steps so I tend to over-explain things.)

Anywho, this frustration over what to do with my demos resulted in a lot of inaction over the months. But after I got my new laptop, I was inspired to crank up iMovie and do another demo. So here’s my primer on making risotto.

I’ve said before that I love risotto, and it’s one of those dishes that you can be really creative with, adding ingredients of the season to make your own signature risotto dish—as long as you have the basic risotto part down. So this demo shows the basic steps of risotto, and then you can build from there to create your own dish. For my part, I ended up making a wild mushroom risotto with speck. (See recipe below if you want to make it at home after watching my video.)

BTW, if you have any suggestions or special requests on what might make an interesting demo, send me an email at with your ideas. For now, turn down the lights and enjoy!

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Speck

2 to 3 cups of mixed mushrooms (chanterelles, tree oyster, shitake, etc.), stem removed
5 to 6 thinly sliced speck (about 2 oz.)
½ sweet onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup Parmegiano Regianno cheese
2 t fresh sage or thyme (dried version ok)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T butter
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, warm butter and tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat and then add garlic and onions. Sauté until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then add rice and stir to toast the rice for about a minute. Add wine and cook at medium heat until most of the wine has burned off. Then add two ladles of chicken broth with the sage or thyme, occasionally stirring your rice to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the rice has absorbed almost all of the broth, add another two ladles until the rice is done. (About 15 minutes.)

In a separate sauté pan or skillet, warm a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and then add mushroom. (Cut larger sized mushrooms to quarter pieces to make it easier to eat.) Sauté the mushrooms with some salt to extract some of the moisture. Add to your risotto near the end when the risotto is almost done. (Save some mushrooms to garnish on top.)

When your risotto is almost done and you’ve added the mushrooms, remove your pot from the heat and add the grated Parmegianno Regianno. Season your risotto with salt to your taste. Let it sit for about a minute and then plate. Get your thinly sliced speck and rip the slices into pieces on top of your risotto. Garnish with your extra mushrooms and some grated cheese and serve immediately.

Makes two servings. Serve with a mixed green salad.

Pair with a glass of Barbera wine.

TIP: Speck is a leaner version of prosciutto. If you can’t find speck, you can substitute it with regular prosciutto.

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