Monday, 18 June 2012

My First Risotto Attempt

Risotto... one of the great comfort foods courtesy of Italian cuisine.  I definitely enjoy eating risotto.  Done right, risotto is creamy and flavourful, with each grain of rice fluffy yet al dente.  I realized, however, that I have yet to try making risotto, so I resolved to attempt making one this weekend.

Risotto is deceivingly easy to make.  However, full attention and care must be given to the dish during the cooking process to ensure it is done right.  Because the rice used for risotto, usually arborio, is very starchy, the rice can easily stick to the bottom of the pot if not stirred frequently, resulting in a stovetop disaster.  A variety of ingredients can be incorporated into a risotto, and in this case, I used hot Italian sausage, freshwater prawns, red bell peppers, white and portobello mushrooms, and chardonnay.

I thought that my first attempt was quite successful.  It was definitely quite hearty with the amount of ingredients I used, turning this into a delightful one-dish meal.  I intend to make a similar version for an upcoming potluck, swapping the sausage with some flavourful prosciutto.  Hopefully my friends will also approve of my rendition!

Sausage, Prawn and Mushroom Risotto
375mL (1.5 cups) arborio rice
12 large prawns (or 16 medium-sized shrimp), peeled and deveined
2 links Italian sausage, grilled and sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
200g (7 oz.) white mushrooms, sliced
1 portobello mushroom cap, chopped
1-1.5 red bell peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
900mL (3.75 cups) chicken or vegetable stock, heated
250mL (1 cup) white wine
2.5mL (0.5 tsp.) dried thyme leaves
60mL (0.5 stick, 4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, divided evenly in half
125mL (0.5 cup) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
  1. Drizzle olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat.  Add bell peppers and mushrooms with a pinch of salt, and cook covered for five (5) minutes.  Set aside mixture with its jus.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add half the butter along with some olive oil to minimize the burning of the butter.  Once the butter has melted, add onions and garlic and cook until the onions begin to soften, about four (4) minutes.
  3. Add rice to the pot and stir until all grains are coated, about one (1) minute.
  4. Add wine until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, stirring often.
  5. Add 250mL (1 cup) hot broth as well as the thyme and let the mixture simmer, stirring often, until almost all of the broth is absorbed, about four to five (4-5) minutes.  Continue adding broth 250mL (1 cup) at a time, each time until almost all of the broth is absorbed, stirring often, until almost all of the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender and the mixture creamy.  Each cycle should also take about four to five (4-5) minutes.
  6. Immediately after the second addition of broth, add the prawns, sausage and mushroom/pepper mixture to the pot.  The stirring of the rice should help even the mixture and cook the meat and seafood.
  7. At the end of the last broth addition cycle add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir into the mixture the remaining butter as well as the Parmesan.  Remove from heat and serve.

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