Risotto is a an Italian dish; a perfect comfort food. Like macaroni and cheese. In Italy it would be served as a first course. When prepared properly it has a rich creamy consistency. It makes a great side dish with shrimp or fish or chicken or you can add the protein to the risotto before serving. Tonight the risotto was the main course. Risotto is fairly easy to make and it is a very versatile dish. Almost anything in your refrigerator will work. Tonight I used fresh spinach and broccoli and frozen peas. I remember asking my Dad if he liked Chinese food. His response was, “I don’t care much for rice.” I don’t think this is a dish my Dad would appreciate. As an entree or as a side dish.
1 T olive oil
2 T butter
2/3 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup shallot diced
1 cup broccoli flowerettes and stems sliced
1 cup peas
2 cups baby spinach
1 T lemon zest
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup fresh grated asiago or Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Grate the cheese. Zest and juice the lemon.
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat and saute the shallot and broccoli for a couple minutes.
While you saute the vegetables put the chicken broth in a sauce pan and heat. You will be adding hot broth to the rice. The hot broth helps to release the starch from the rice so that the risotto cooks properly.
Add the rice to the skillet and stir to coat the rice with the oil and butter.
Add the white wine and simmer over low heat stirring constantly until almost all of the wine has been absorbed.
Add the chicken broth two ladles at a time stirring frequently. Wait for the broth to be absorbed before adding more. This entire process will take about 30 minutes.
About half way through the cooking process add the peas and the lemon zest.
When you add the last of the broth also add the spinach. Continue cooking and stirring until the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Add the cheese and lemon juice stirring to combine. Add salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and remove the skillet from the heat for a few minutes.
Serve the risotto hot and sprinkle with more cheese.
NOTE: Feel free to use any combination of vegetables. Leeks, asparagus, fennel, squash, mushrooms. You can also substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Add vegetables that take longer to cook earlier in the cooking process.
Dry reds are the wines of choice at our house so I purchase white wine in the small, single serving bottles. Perfect for cooking.