More Risotto.

risotto-with-leeks-and-peasThere’s no such thing as too much risotto, is there?  I truly hope not, because I can’t stop making it.  Or eating it, for that matter.  Of course, it doesn’t help that I seem to constantly find myself in the presence of tantalizing-sounding recipes like this one from Gourmet, which I bumped into with my typical grace — meaning I was reading as I walked down the street, not noticing the  loose cobblestone in my path until I stumbled over it and tore the risotto’s recipe page out of the magazine.

Regardless of how I found it, this is a lovely springy dish.  The leeks give a delicate flavor to the rice, and when combined with the peas, it’s a perfect meal for this time of year.  The only change I would make would be to add a squeeze of lemon juice and maybe some zest, just to add even more brightness to it all.

Leek + Pea Risotto, from Gourmet
Makes four portions.

6 cups chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced and washed
1 ¼ cups Arborio rice
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  1. Bring stock to a bare simmer in a medium saucepan, then keep at a bare simmer.   Cook leeks in 2 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add remaining tablespoon oil and rice to pot and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is coated evenly, about 1 minute. Add wine and briskly simmer, stirring, until most has been absorbed, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 1 cup hot stock and briskly simmer, stirring constantly, until stock has been absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next, until 1 cup stock is left, 15 to 18 minutes. Add peas, leeks, and remaining cup stock and cook, stirring, until rice is just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in butter and cheese, then remove from heat.  Serve.
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A Risotto Dinner.

Do you ever have a craving for something — a food, let’s say — and you simply can’t get enough?  And when you get your hands on the thing you’re craving — Breyer’s Smooth and Dreamy Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, for example — do you have to just stuff yourself with it until your desire evaporates like summer rain on a hot sidewalk?  And then, do you not crave that item again for something like six months?

I am so that person.  I am the prime example of that person, and right now I want risotto.  I’ve been trying to space it out, maybe one risotto dish a week, but it’s been so hard.  I just want risotto all the time, so when I bumped into this lemon-centric recipe from Bon Appétit I was eager to test it out.  I mean, it has lemons and cheese and risotto, and I love eating all three of those things.  To put it bluntly, these could easily be my Desert Island Foods (along with Breyer’s Smooth and Dreamy Mint Chocolate Chip).  You know what, though?  I was kind of underwhelmed by the results.  Sad, but true.  The lemon flavor was really pronounced and quite lovely, but everything else kind of faded away into the background.  Since I couldn’t let risotto beat me at my own game, the very next night I pulled out the arborio rice for round two.

lemon-and-caramelized-onion-risotto1If I were a clever person, I would have sat down with a bowl of Bon Appétit‘s risotto and taken notes on a pad with each mouthful, analyzing as I chewed to determine was missing or what could be possibly added to enhance the dish.  Friends, I am not a clever person.  What I did instead was look around my kitchen to see what I had on hand, which is how I ended up grabbing an onion, snatching a hunk of Gruyère and rummaging around my (messy) spice cabinet for some nutmeg.

I decided to caramelize some onions because, seriously, what isn’t better with caramelized onions?  (Well, maybe Breyer’s Smooth and Dreamy Mint Chocolate Chip — haven’t tried that one yet.)  I also chose to use Gruyère instead of Parmesan in my version, in order to add Gruyère’s nuttiness to the crisp lemon flavor and the sweet onions.  So regardless of my ultra-scientific methods, I’m so pleased with how my risotto came out.  I’ve actually made my rendition of Bon Appétit‘s recipe a few times to bang out all the kinks; it’s a great dinner, especially alongside a fresh green salad.

Lemon + Caramelized Onion Risotto, adapted from Bon Appétit
Makes six first-course portions or four main-course portions

6 cups chicken broth (water is okay, too)
4 ½ tablespoons butter
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Gruyère cheese
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  1. Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the sliced onions until well coated, cover, and lower heat.  Stir occasionally until onions are translucent; remove cover, increase heat and continue to stir until the onions take on a really rich golden caramel color.  When the onions are done, remove them from the pan and set aside.
  3. Melt 1 ½ tablespoons butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add 1 ½ cups hot broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth ½ cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes. Lower heat then stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in nutmeg, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest and caramelized onions. Season risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.