Saturday, May 7, 2016

Time For A Little Risotto Primavera.

My asparagus plants have been quite prolific this season
and I'm always looking for new ways to use this lovely spring gift.

I've had it with my homemade kale pasta.
I've had it in a quiche.
I've had it in soup.
I've wrapped it in shaved ham and puff pastry.
You name it.
I've probably prepared it.

Today, asparagus is going into Rosie's Risotto Primavera -
my homage to Spring.

There are a hundreds of recipes for risotto
depending on whatever ingredients you want to add.
All of them use arborio rice
and follow a standard operating procedure.
Risotto is a process, not a type of rice.
Look for arborio rice in the grocery store.
Arborio rice is a short grain rice, high in starch content.
The starch is released during cooking
which results in the natural creamy texture of the risotto.
Risotto is coddled from start to finish
to bring out the maximum amount of flavor.
First, I sautéed the arborio rice in butter,
toasting it a bit to bring out the nuttiness.
Then I slowly added in hot broth,
just a ladleful at a time,
stirring with a wooden spoon
until the liquid is absorbed and the grains plump up.

Basic  risotto rules:
  • Use a skillet, not a deep pot.  You want a container that's wider than it's high, to allow for uniform evaporation of liquid while it cooks. 
  • Generally the ratio of rice to water is 1:3½.  
  • A flat-edged wooden spoon is the best utensil to use.
  • Sautéing the rice in butter toasts the kernels, giving them a nutty flavor.  This also coats the rice in fat which keeps the kernels from releasing their starch too quickly, thus preventing them from falling apart during the cooking process.
  • Use a hot, simmering broth to gradually add to the rice.  This keeps the starches from hardening, which would mess up the creamy, silky texture of the risotto.
  • Add one ladleful of broth at a time and constantly stir until the liquid is absorbed, then add another ladleful.  The constant stirring not only prevents the released starches from scorching on the bottom of the pan, it also incorporates the fat and starch to create that signature texture of risotto.

Risotto Primavera
2 TB unsalted butter
1 cup arborio rice
1 small onion, chopped
28 ounces hot chicken broth (That's two of the smaller cartons.)
splash of cream
some broccoli florets
some asparagus spears, sliced
frozen green peas
Do NOT used canned peas.
I will come to your house and hurt you.
chopped parsley
more unsalted butter
Kosher salt, to taste

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