Friday, November 23, 2007

Basil Risotto

Here is another easy and tasty risotto recipe, especially if you love basil. I've used different recipes from Sunset, Epicurious and Food Network and came up with a risotto that I like.

Risotto always sounds complicated for an inexperienced cook, but it really is very easy to make, you just have to watch it while cooking.

Here are some tips: You must have the broth simmering. You shouldn't add it cold whenever you are making any risotto. Make sure the wine you are adding is also room temperature. I use a pinot grigio I like, feel free to use any white wine you like. Always use wine that you would drink.

If you ladle the broth in instead of adding a cup at a time it will feel like the risotto is cooking faster. Actually it will take about 18 minutes with both methods. I like adding a ladle at a time, which gives me more control. But if you are busy in the kitchen and have to walk away from the risotto a couple of minutes at a time (it happens, who really stirs all the time?), adding a little bit less than a cup should make the cooking easier.

Don't try to use all of the broth, most of the time you will have some left over. Taste the risotto to make sure it is al dente, otherwise you will end up with mush.

I like using shallots, but if you don't have them handy, you can use onions instead. Don't use 2 onions, you need to adjust the amount to about 1 onion. See how much you would like according to your taste.

Arborio rice will always make a better risotto. But you don't have it handy, use a long grained rice. It will almost do the job, but not for the real risotto lovers:)

I serve this with a basic tomato salad, with balsamic and olive oil. It complements the risotto without overpowering it. Enjoy and let me know what you think about the recipe.



1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/8 cup packed fresh sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
5 1/2 cups chicken broth (44 fluid ounces)
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (about 10 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup dry white wine

In a 2- to 3-quart pan over high heat, bring broth to a simmer; cover and reduce heat to maintain simmer.

In a food processor mince basil, sage, garlic and 1 teaspoon olive oil until coarsely chopped. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano and whirl until finely ground.

In a 4- to 5-quart heavy kettle cook shallots with 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter, covered, over medium heat, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 1-2 minutes. Lower heat and add rice and cook, uncovered, stirring, until it begins to turn opaque, about 2-3 minutes.

Increase heat to moderate and add wine. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed. Stir in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.

Continue adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cooking mixture at a strong simmer, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 18 minutes total.

Remove kettle from heat and stir in herb mixture, 1 tablespoon oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve risotto immediately.

Serves 4

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