So, a loyal follower has indicated my blog has been run rampant with chicken recipes, and I need to switch it up a little.  Ask and you shall receive.  Beef and pork aren’t really my thing (maybe someday!), so back to starches it is. Conveniently, I made this carby dish for dinner for me and my wonderful roommate Jen tonight, after an extremely windy day caddying our sorority’s golf tournament.  It was a well deserved meal, and I’m excited to share it.

So here we have risotto.  Risotto and I have a special relationship.  I think it is one of the most delicious, comforting foods on the planet, however, it is one of the few foods I am (was) intimidated to make – all the stirring involved and the risk of the rice grains becoming gummy scares me a little.  I will confess, I made risotto once before and it was an awful disaster that I would be ashamed to post on this blog.  Way too much cheese (who would have thought I would ever say that!), not enough liquid, and mushy rice.  It was a sad day.

But, being fearless in the kitchen is my goal, and so I tried for take two.  And I can happily say I am no longer scared of tackling these delicious, creamy grains of goodness.  The best thing about risotto is how well it can be complimented by such a diverse variety of ingredients: lobster risotto, mushroom risotto, saffron risotto and on and on and on.  Sometimes though, the simplest of dishes are the tastiest, and so for this particular batch (trust me, there will be more to come) I chose to use only peas, onions, and a surprisingly small amount of cheese to mix into my rice.  It was lovely and simple and something I highly recommend.

Cheesy Risotto with Peas

Serves two, very generously 

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 white onion, diced very small
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup white wine (duh…any excuse to break out the vino)
  • about 4 cups of chicken stock, but you may need more and you may need less…not very helpful, I know
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cheese of your choice, cubed (I used a great cheddar-gruyere cheese that was nice and mild and melted nicely into the risotto).
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Put the chicken broth in a pot and bring it to a boil, and then maintain it at a simmer.  While this is going on, heat the butter in a large saucepan until it melts.  Add the onions and cook them on medium high heat until they are soft – about 4 minutes.  Salt them to taste.

everythings better with butter

Add your garlic and Arborio rice, and toast over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until the rice becomes a little toasty but NOT brown.

Arborio rice > regular rice

After this, add the white wine to the pan.  Drink a little, if you want.

WINEEEEEE, i am truly my fathers daughter

Let the wine cook and stir constantly until all the liquid evaporates.  Then, add about 1 cup of the simmering chicken broth to the rice. Here is where the sad part about risotto comes in: you must stir, stir, stir and stir some more until the cup of broth is evaporated.  Don’t even think about leaving your risotto without stirring – you will end up with mush and you will cry.

the stirring process begins

After the first cup evaporates, add another 1/2 cup of simmering broth to the rice.  Stir, until it is absorbed into the rice.  Add another half cup.  Stir, until absorbed.  Repeat this process over and over until your rice is done – it should be tender on the outside and a little al dente on the inside.

it is really amazing to me how risotto becomes so creamy without the addition of cream

When the rice has reached the desired consistency, fold in the peas and cheese, and stir until combined and melted.

a little blurry - i was excited

Pepper the risotto to your liking.  Serve up on the pretty white plates your dad got you just because (thanks, Dad) and enjoy!

YUM

The one thing about making risotto is the leftovers don’t really heat that well.  If you do have leftovers, pop them in the fridge, and make arancini balls the next day…recipe to come soon, hopefully.

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