Monday, October 29, 2012

Last Resort Risotto



We're hungry.  The wind is howling.  I'm debating whether to continue filling all available receptacles with water or to take a stab at some perishables before the power goes out.

Big surprise...food for the win.

We've got a stockpile of nifty, power outage friendly foods so I look to those things that will suffer from lack of electricity.  Risotto is the first thing that comes to mind.  Our veggies that would otherwise deteriorate in a dead fridge will now find a happy home.  Our chicken breast, those cutlets shall not languish in a freon free zone.  And the butter, cheese and crème fraîche, they too will find culinary succor in my pot of arborio rice...that is if I can stop waxing poetic for a minute and actually start cooking before all heck breaks loose in my back yard.




Last Resort Risotto

INGREDIENTS
(makes two hearty hurricane servings.  Under normal circumstance, should serve 4)

1 1/4 cups arborio rice
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (I pour the entire contents of 1 Pacific brand organic / low sodium carton into a saucepan and leave it simmering during the process.  You can sub veggie stock or fish stock.)
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup sake (or dry white wine)
1 tablespoon minced and 2 intact sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1/2 cup Vermont Creamery Crème Fraîche
salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE

•In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter until the butter has melted.  Add the onion, garlic and red pepper over medium high heat.  Saute until just tender.  Add the arborio rice and stir until the outer bit of rice just begins to look translucent.

•Pour in the sake or white wine and the lemon juice into the rice mixture and reduce the heat to medium.  Stir constantly until the moisture is almost completely absorbed into the rice.  Using a ladle, pour about 1/4 cup of stock into the rice mixture and continue stirring until the moisture is absorbed.  Continue adding, a ladle at a time, stirring between each addition constantly until the moisture is absorbed until the rice is just soft but holds a very slight al dente bite (if this doesn't appeal, simply continue adding stock until the rice's texture is to your liking and if you run out of stock, start using warm water).

Butter andCrème Fraîche make for a creamy and delightfully refreshing addition.


•Lower heat to low and immediately stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, crème fraîche, parmigiano, minced rosemary and the lemon zest.  Season to taste.  Cover the risotto tightly with a lid while you gather your bowls and utensils.

•Divide the risotto evenly among two large bowls and top each with a sprig of rosemary.  I serve either with a lightly seasoned chicken breast or shrimp or whatever is in the fridge that needs to find a home on my plate before the power goes out.

Stay safe and full, sweet people!