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Well, this post is long over due! I made some fantastic risotto the other week at a friend's urging. I take for granted that other people (civilians) not in the restaurant business think that some dishes are exotic or difficult. It puzzles me that on competitive cooking shows, making risotto is some kind of benchmark of skill. Really, if you make it two or three times and decide whether you like it "loose" or "tight" you should be able to make risotto anytime, any place! All you need is some great Italian Arborio rice, a flavored broth, white wine, grated Italian cheese, a nice shallow pan with a heavy bottom and a wooden spoon or spatula. I had to use the silicone spatula in the restaurant because the health department (HD) doesn't allow wood in the kitchen.

For this recipe, I was using a pretty, first of the season butternut squash. I peeled and diced it - very carefully! (It would help you to make it level by cutting off the top and the bottom. I use a rolling motion. I roll the hard squash and hold the chef's knife steady until it cuts through. Once it can stand level and not be slippery, I trim the skin off and discard the seeds and guts.) In a 4 quart pot I set on some water to simmer. I made it into an impromptu vegetable broth by adding dried porcini mushrooms, bay leaf, saffron threads, turmeric, Espelette chili pepper, and ground pepper. In the heavy bottomed pan I sauted a diced onion in extra virgin olive oil with some minced fresh garlic and the diced squash. When the squash seemed half cooked and the onions we're somewhat translucent I added the rice. You figure in your head that the rice will double after it has absorbed the liquid and that is how you know how much to add to the pan. (That and a little practice!) Leftover risotto can always be turned into Arancini - fried risotto& cheese balls

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I stirred around the rice to coat it in the pan flavors. I then poured about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of white wine over it all and stirred so it would absorb the wine. When that was absorbed, I then ladled stock over the rice all the while stirring and scraping the pan so nothing would stick. When the rice had absorbed that, I ladled more and continued stirring and scraping. You continue to do this until the rice is al dente (to the tooth) and has a bit of resistance. You don't want it mushy soft like some kind of breakfast food. At this point, I put another ladle of broth in, stirred it around, turned off the heat, and folded in lots of grated Pecorino Romano cheese. That is my favorite hard Italian cheese. Some of the others are too strong for my delicate mouth and make the roof of my mouth feel like it has been burned by hot pizza cheese! (Food intolerance vs. food allergy) Some chefs add a big lump of butter to make it richer and smooth out the flavor. You can if you would like. Some add heavy cream. I think that is cheating.

This risotto was made to use up leftover rotisserie chicken breast meat so I folded that in lastly and put chopped fresh garden herbs over it. Thyme, parsley, oregano, sage, rosemaryI threw it all in. It was so delicious. I checked for seasoning - I salt lightly because I am using grated cheese and fresh herbs. It needed sea salt and pepper and was good to go.

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Posted in Cleaning Services Post Date 12/14/2016


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