Saturday, January 13, 2007
Risotto! - My own concoction
Mum and I have been clearing out our freezer lately. It really was time; it was getting a bit feral in there. We've all sorts of random stuff - endless bags of egg-whites, tubs of stock, chicken carcasses, bags of bacon, fruits, meat and so on.
For dinner the other night, I decided to contribute to the ritual clearing-of-the-freezer by making a risotto. It had chicken stock (freezer), a few slices of pumpkin (bottom of the fridge), blue cheese (fridge), and bacon (2 rashers, neatly bagged up in the freezer, as Nigella instructs you to in How to Eat), and a bit of Prosecco (half a bottle still left from Christmas - it's just a little flat, it's still good, it's still good).
Does everyone know how to make a risotto? I couldn't, until last year, before which all my attempted risotti either took hours to make, never cooked properly (mmm, crunchy!), or tasted gluggy and munting. Most books seem to have a different-yet-similar method, but I've found Giorgio Locatelli's tips to be most successful. Quantities depend, obviously, on how many are eating and how hungry y'all are.
1. On a medium to low heat, sautée finely chopped onion in oil and a little butter with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent.
2. Add your rice, and turn the heat up to toast the rice. Stir it until all the rice is slickly coated with the oil.
3. Add a splash of wine, which should hiss in the heat of the pan. Stir to cook until the alcohol is evaporated.
4. Turn the heat back down, and start adding ladlefuls of hot stock (Giorgio says homemade stock is the only way; I'm not nearly as energetic and often use powdered). Stir until the stock is absorbed, before adding another ladleful of stock. Continue in this way until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked. You may need to use more or less stock - it changes each time, depending on the rice, I think.
So that's your basic guide to making risotto. Jamie Oliver also has a step-by-step guide in most of his books, if you can't get your hands on Giorgio.
Back to my particular risotto. As I was stirring the rice, I had my pieces of pumpkin roasting in the oven at 200C for about 30minutes. When the rice was cooked, I added the pumpkin and some crumbled up blue cheese, and the bacon, which I'd fried to a crisp. Stirred it all through, and it became lovely and creamy. And bright orange!
I was quite pleased with the way it turned out. Off-the-cuff suppers can be quite hit or miss, but this one tasted good. And the family loved it. Always important.