Sunday, February 06, 2005

A run-in with risotto

Ok, at Anita's request, some guidelines for portabella and rosemary risotto, which is my standard dinner-for-guests dish, along with garlicky chicken breasts, a salad and a heaping portion o' wine. This recipe comes from the back of a bag of arborio rice that my sister and I bought at the Fairway on the upper West Side back when she lived at Lincoln Center.

So, first you saute a bunch of garlic - two cloves, maybe? - in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Throw in several cups of chopped portabellas, and saute them until they give up their liquid and turn dark and tender. When they reach that point, add a half cup of hot chicken stock (which, since you're making risotto, you'll need a bunch of anyway) and take the pan off the heat.

Then, in a large pot, saute an onion, diced, in a mixture of butter and olive oil. After the onion is soft and tender, throw in a cup of arborio rice and stir it well, so that all the rice gets coated with the fat and onions. (Heat is fairly high at this point.) Then add 3/4 of a cup of a nice, hearty red wine, most likely a cabernet. Stir constantly until the wine is absorbed. Then add a cup of the hot stock and stir until it's absorbed. Repeat this process a few times -- it helps to have a glass of wine next to the stove, and an entertaining kitchen helper for this portion of the preparations -- adding stock and stirring until it's absorbed.

After about 15 minutes, season generously with salt, pepper and a few teaspoons of ground rosemary. (You can use rosemary leaves if you like, but you need so many of them to impart the rosemary flavor that I end up getting irritated by all the little sticks.)

Continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is al dente. When it's a little more firm than you would prefer, add the mushroom mixture and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Serve with some nice grated Parmiggiano on top. And don't forget the wine!