Build Your Own Risotto

June 13, 2013 § 1 Comment

Risotto Rage!  This was a fun meal for the kids because they could add whatever they wanted to their own bowl of risotto.  This could easily be done with a Tomato Risotto or Creamy Parmesan Risotto, but I had homemade pesto to use, so Pesto Risotto it was.  We grilled chicken and sliced it to serve and grilled fantastic fresh artichokes and asparagus.  Here are some other ideas for topping:

  • Ham
  • Italian Sausage
  • Cured Meats
  • Sauteed Mushrooms
  • Fresh Chopped Herbs
  • Grilled Shrimp
  • Seasonal Fresh Vegetables
  • Pine Nuts or Walnuts

Pair it up with a simple salad and crostini of some sort.  I made Ina’s Herbed Ricotta- first inspired by GOOP (digital media and e-commerce company founded by Gwyneth Paltrow).   And for dessert Ricotta with vanilla and sprinkled with 70% cocoa, cinnamon and/nutmeg.  No sugar added- light dessert.

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Risotto With Pesto

Ingredients

Kosher salt
3 leeks (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
3/4 cup pesto (I used homemade)
1 cup small fresh mozzarella balls or diced fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Make the broth: Bring 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Adjust the heat to keep the broth at a gentle simmer.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, about 1 more minute.

Add 2 cups of the hot leek broth to the rice; cook, stirring occasionally, until almost absorbed, about 6 minutes (adjust the heat to keep the risotto at a simmer). Add 1 more cup broth and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed, about 5 more minutes. Add the leeks, and 1 more cup broth and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed, about 5 more minutes. Taste the rice: If it is not fully cooked, add a little more broth and continue to cook, stirring, until al dente.

Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from the heat; stir in 2/3 cup pesto, the mozzarella and parmesan. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and top with the remaining pesto.

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Grilled Artichokes and Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh artichokes
  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Garnish: halved lemon slices

Preparation
1. Wash artichokes by plunging up and down in cold water. Cut off stem ends, and trim about 1 inch from top of each artichoke. Remove and discard any loose bottom leaves. Trim and discard one-fourth off top of each outer leaf with scissors.
2. Bring artichokes and water to cover to a boil in a Dutch oven; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Drain; pat dry with paper towels.
3. Cut artichokes in half lengthwise. Remove choke using a small spoon or melon baller. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus.
4. Stir together olive oil and next 3 ingredients. Brush cut sides of artichoke halves with one-third of olive oil mixture. Brush asparagus evenly with one-third of olive oil mixture, reserving remaining olive oil mixture for later use.
5. Grill artichokes and asparagus, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°). Grill artichokes, cut sides down, 10 minutes; turn and grill 5 more minutes. Grill asparagus 1 to 2 minutes; turn and grill 2 more minutes or until tender. Garnish, if desired. Drizzle with reserved olive oil mixture, if desired, and serve immediately.

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Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas

Ingredients

2 cups ricotta, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 round sourdough bread
Good olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, cut in half
Green Salad Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Directions

Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals or turn a gas grill to medium-high heat.

Combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and set aside. Cut the bread in half and cut each half into 6 thick slices to make 12 slices total.

When the grill is hot, brush the bread with olive oil and grill on each side for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the grill and rub each slice of bread with the cut side of the garlic clove. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread with the herbed ricotta. Serve 2 warm slices per person with the green salad on the side.
Homemade Ricotta:

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar

Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.

Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side, but some prefer it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

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7-Layer Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen pound cake (10 3/4 ounces) in aluminum loaf pan, unthawed, or 1 homemade 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch pound cake, room temperature
  • 2 cups raspberry sorbet, softened
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped chocolate wafer cookies
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Step 1  Remove cake from pan and cut horizontally into 4 slices. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving 6-inch overhang on two sides. Build cake layers in pan in this order: bottom cake slice, 1 cup sorbet, cake slice, 1/2 cup ice cream, cookie crumbs, 1/2 cup ice cream, cake slice, 1 cup sorbet, top cake slice. (If necessary, return ice cream to freezer as you work.) Wrap in plastic and freeze at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Step 2  In a heatproof bowl, lightly whisk together egg whites and pinch of cream of tartar. Set bowl over (not in) a pan of simmering water and whisk until whites are foamy. Slowly whisk in sugar and cook, whisking, until sugar is dissolved (to test, rub some between your fingertips).

Step 3  Remove bowl from heat and, with an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Add vanilla and beat 1 minute. Remove cake from pan, trim sides if desired, and dollop meringue on top.

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I recall a client telling me years ago to start cooking classes out of my home.  She said, “Do you know ho many people have no idea how to make risotto”.  Well, I never taught the cooking classes, but I’ve enjoyed cooking risotto for over 20 years.

“Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”

~ Julia Child, My Life in France

xo

Maureen

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