I have a confession: I was a risotto virgin. I know, I know… How could call myself a “foodie”, and not yet experienced a delicious masterpiece like risotto? Alas, I have now found it, and plan to keep it in my repertoire for a long time to come. It was ridiculously easy; not only to cook, but also to clean up as it is a “one dish meal”. I can easily see it becoming a “go to” meal for those nights when I just don’t feel like cooking anything. You can pretty much throw anything in there with equally delicious results. A great way to clean out the refrigerator at the end of the week!
I was concerned that this dish would need a protein to go with it. So, I served it with seared scallops. Now, the scallops were delicious, don’t get me wrong. I made a balsamic reduction in the pan that I seared them in, and drizzled that over the whole mess. It definitely added an extra oomph, or “kicked it up a notch” if you will. But, both my husband and myself agreed that it could certainly stand on it’s own as a satisfying dinner – sans meat.
So, if you haven’t tried making risotto at home yet – do yourself a favor, and please do. I kick myself for waiting as long as I did!
3-31/2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 yellow squash, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb asparagus, top 2 inches cut into diagonal 1/2 inch pieces (freeze bottoms to save for vegetable stock)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to achieve a gentle simmer, and maintain over low heat.
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add the wine and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and add the bell pepper and 1 cup of the hot stock. Cook, stirring often, until most of the stock is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and asparagus and another 1 cup of the hot stock and simmer, stirring often, until most of it has been absorbed. Add another 1 cup of the hot stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has been absorbed and the risotto has a creamy consistency, about 20 minutes. Taste the rice; if it is hard in the center, add the remaining 1/2 cup stock and simmer, stirring, until absorbed and the grains are tender but slightly al dente.
Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at once.
Adapted from: Williams-Sonoma Italian Favorites