Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Latest Culinary Achievment: Risotto

After watching several seasons of Hell's Kitchen where Gordon Ramsay made it an art of yelling at his chefs for making a "mushy and bland risotto" I came to the conclusion that the dish was near impossible for a newbie-foodie such as myself to make. However, the other day Mango stumbled upon a simple risotto recipe featuring fresh asparagus and Parmesan and I figured, why not? Let's give it a whirl.

In the end, it came out fantastic, not at all mushy or bland. I raised my arms in triumph, ladle in one hand and dish cloth in the other, flinging bits of risotto everywhere, but I didn't care, I did it! Below is the recipe, I promise you won't be disappointed, it's DELISH DAAARLING!
Asparagus Risotto
From: Weight Watchers
Servings: 6
Cooking Time: 34 min.
1/2 tsp table salt, for cooking water
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 sprays cooking spray
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 small shallots, minced
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add asparagus to pot and cook for 2 minutes (blanch). Immediately remove asparagus from pot and place them into ice water (to stop them from cooking and help retain the bright green color). Set aside.
2. Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a small pot.
3. Coat a medium pot with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Melt butter. Add shallots, cooking, stirring frequently until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add rice and toss to coat, cooking for 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook until juice is absorbed stirring constantly to ensure rice doesn't stick to bottom of pot.
4. Add 1/2 cup of hot broth to pot at a time and stir until it's absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth making sure each addition of broth is absorbed before adding more and keep stirring. This will take about 20 minutes.
5. When rice turns creamy and just done (slightly chewy), remove pot from heat and add cheese, stirring well. Stir in asparagus and season with salt and pepper.
We decided to serve it on the side of some nicely broiled steaks (I was feeling ambitious that day) or the risotto would be amazing all by itself.
Just for a bit of fun, here's Chef Ramsay's take on the perfect risotto: