What shall I do?

I know I want to run a 5k and half marathon. Okay, so I want to run, but I will end up power walking instead. Maybe try out some new ethnic cuisines. Travel to some new spots. Try some new classes. Support a new charity. Some may be exciting adventures, some may be boring. I welcome your suggestions for something new to try.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

#28 You say Ris"O"tto, I say Ris"ah"tto...

I love Gordon Ramsay.  Maybe not some of his dishes (look over the menu at Maze in London sometime), but the man knows food and how to pair it with success.  On Hell's Kitchen a menu staple is risotto.  Now you and I would normally order it as risOHtto, but in his charming British accent he calls it risAHtto.  It never ceases to amaze me when budding chefs on Hell's Kitchen struggle with making this dish.  If you've ever watched even one season you pretty much know you shouldn't even be applying unless you have mastered it or Chef Ramsay will be throwing your risahtto across the kitchen.

While I have tasted risotto, I have never ordered it or made it.  Seriously, I just can't seeing paying $9 for a bowl of rice.  It might taste heavenly and yes it is a bit of a pain to cook, but it's still a $9 grain.  I just can't bring myself to do it.  So to salve my rare burst of frugality, I decided I should try making risotto and see what all the fuss is about.

Risotto can be made from several varieties of short grained, high starch Italian rice.  I used Arborio because after diligent research into the best variety, it was the only type carried at my grocers. Being short grained, it absorbs the liquid and releases starch making it a creamy, almost pasta like dish. Don't expect any fluffy rice from these varieties.

Your typical rice is low maintenance.  Boil water, throw in the rice, cover and simmer for 20 minutes while leaving it alone.  But a risotto rice takes a bit more pampering.  Stock imparts greater flavor into the dish than water.  It should be cooked over a low heat with stock slowly added as it gets absorbed into the rice.  It needs to be stirred, but not so much that you break up the rice grains. After 25 minutes of babysitting your dish, you hopefully have a nice flavorful bowl of creamy, slightly al dente, risotto.

I have to say with just broth, mushrooms, parmesan cheese and a few seasonings I ended up with a fairly nice dish.  It was creamy and had a slight bite to it.  I don't consider it a first course or main dish though.  It's strictly a side dish and nothing I would ever pay $9 for in a restaurant.  It isn't something I'll fix often because frankly I'd rather use those calories on something I enjoy a whole lot more than rice.  Still, I do see the occasional risotto in my future...

No comments:

Post a Comment