Risotto City!

Sorry for the lag in posts – have had a bit of a hard week or so, and a faltering computer on top of it (if you feel so compelled, I would not turn away donations. What? Julie Powell took them, I can at least joke!). But don’t you worry, I have been slaving away, eating my heart out just for you! In all reality, I’ve been quite tame, but I do have some things in the backlog coming up!

Okay so Risotto City might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Beth taught me how to make risotto Saturday night!! I must admit, I’m quite intimidated by risotto, as it is a part of the rice family, and I have not had good experiences with cooking rice. It is not as easy as it seems, and I will be investing in a rice cooker. Judge away, but when all I have to do is add water and rice to a machine and get flawless rice, I will not feel an ounce of guilt. Beth has, however, taken away my fear of risotto. Not entirely, as I will not be scared-free until I reproduce this on my own, but definitely heaps less scared. I also found that a glass or two of a nice red during preparation significantly aids the process.

Ingredients for a chicken, tomato and spinach risotto a la Beth:

1/2 large onion, or 1 small onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, smashed or diced

1 punnet of grape tomatoes – the ones that “pop” in your mouth are the best

a bunch of leaf spinach

Chicken breast (we used 2 to feed 3 people, but its up to you) cut up into bite sizes

Box of Arborio rice

1 box of chicken stock – Beth says it’s best to make your own, but otherwise choose a low sodium stock, as otherwise the ones in the US seem too salty!

1/4 cup butter

1/2 lb of Parmesan cheese, grated

Pine nuts, toasted

Toast the pine nuts in a pan until lightly browned. Cook the onion and garlic in butter in a large pan. Add the chicken, and cook until almost done (will continue to cook while you simmer once you’ve added the rice). Add about half a box of the Arborio rice (1/2 lb), and be sure to stir it around, coating it with the butter already in the pan. Cover with chicken stock. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, adding more stock as it cooks. Also add the Parmesan as it cooks, tasting for the flavor as you go. When the rice is almost done (you want it al dente), add in tomatoes and spinach. Throw in a bit more butter, and heat the veggies, melt in the butter.

Serve in bowls, top with pine nuts.

Correct me Beth, if I am wrong. 😀

I loved this dish. And though I am still a bit worried about reproducing this on my own, I have ventured out to buy the Arborio rice and ingredients for maybe a mid-week attempt. The dish was so warm and filling, but unlike a lot of risottos I have had in the past, its not to creamy or rich, although it has a wonderful Parmesan flavor.  And be careful when biting into those tomatoes – as William says: “Everyone gets squirted in the face the first time”.


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