The Comfort of Risotto
So grateful to Natalie from www.everydaynatalie.com for sharing this guest post about the connection between family and food. What is the first food that comes to mind when you think of family? What is your signature dish? Have you thought about recording those memories and that recipe here for your posterity to enjoy? What better way to connect with future generations than by sharing special memories of food and family? Thanks, Natalie, for sharing a great memory and recipe with us!
Risotto is defined as a northern Italian rice dish cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency, but I define it as comfort. In my home, risotto means the comfort of my family gathered around the kitchen table, or the comfort of homecoming- when my daughter or son was back for a brief visit while in college. Risotto is the comfort of entertaining guests in my home for the first time, or the comfort of having friends return to break bread together. One time I brought the comfort to my oldest while she was away at school. I carried Arborio rice in my luggage for fear I wouldn’t find it in her market. I bought the remainder of the ingredients there and then cooked risotto for her and her roommates.
Risotto is my signature dish; it is warm, homey, and cheesy. It pairs well with most main dishes and is so versatile. It can be served as the main course or the side. You can add just about anything to basic risotto from chicken and seafood to vegetables or bacon. You can even add different seasonings to change the flavor. I love risotto served with a big green salad or alongside lemony chicken. My daughter’s favorite is when roasted vegetables are mixed in with extra Parmesan cheese. You can play around with the basic recipe and find a favorite way of your own to enjoy this delicious rice dish.
Risotto is a beautiful mix of fancy and simple.
6 side dish or 4 main dish serving
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine (such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat.
In a large, heavy saucepan or dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes until tender, but not brown. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat with the butter. Let the rice sizzle for a minute or two, then add the white wine. Simmer until the wine is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly. The goal here is to keep the rice from drying out. Allow each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next. Continue stirring and adding broth. Feel free to turn down the heat if it seems the rice is cooking too quickly. The rice should be simmering, not boiling aggressively. I usually set a timer for 20 minutes for the “adding broth and stirring” stage. After that, I check to see how done the rice is. Taste to see that it is soft but firm in the center. When it is, you will know it is done. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*I usually double the recipe because we love leftover risotto.
**If adding in other ingredients, cook them separately and toss it at the end with the butter and Parmesan.
Natalie is a pastor’s wife, educator, speaker, writer, and mom of three. She loves Jesus, traveling, cooking, sunshiny days, champagne, and European chocolate. She believes life is meant to be lived with passion and purpose and writes at www.everydaynatalie.com where she shares about the everyday joys and struggles of life.
(photo via Epicurious)
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