Friday, March 25, 2011


This week has been a bit crazy for me, so this post is going up much later than cooking day. I actually made 2 new recipes this week--one on Monday and the other on Tuesday--both risotto. Why am I suddenly smitten with risotto, you ask? Well, in keeping with this month's Top Chef theme, I decided it was time to learn from one of them first hand. And the one chef happened to be....

...drum roll, please...

DUH! ;^} Chef Fabio Viviani, of course! I know Fabio has pretty much ruled this blog, but seriously--how can you not adore this guy? If you haven't yet, you really need to check out the "Top Chef All Stars" recaps on his blog. That will give you a little hint of why I just can't get enough.

So, risotto. First of all, lemme say that this stuff is simple! So simple, in fact, that I was a little overambitious in my first attempt and decided to create my own recipe. I thought it would be fun to mesh cultures and make a Mexican Risotto. Well my idea was a good one, but the flavors I chose betrayed my ignorance! I'm  embarrassed to share, but I will anyway.

First, I heated about a tablespoon of classic olive oil in a pan. Browned about a quarter of an onion, diced, and then added a Mexican chorizo link. (Johnsonville makes them in hot dog size, I found out.) After the meat cooked, I added about 1ish cup of rice--arborio is the best type, of which my store only had long grain--but as the Maestro put it, "one hand of rice per person." Let the rice cook just a little bit to absorb the flavors in the pan. In classic risotto, the next step was to add white wine. I added it to this version. You should not. White wine + Mexican chorizo = strange. Anyway, after the wine reduced, I added enough vegetable broth to cover the rice. I reduced the broth, then added a little tomato sauce (Because during the class Fabio said that if you wanted to add a tomato sauce, you should add it in place of broth the second time. It'll make sense when you read the next paragraph.) and water, then reduced that, repeating the process once more with broth. After the risotto did "the wave" I knew it was done. I turned off the fire, stirred in some quesadilla queso and served it up. It definitely has potential, so next time I'm taking out the wine and the tomato. I'll let you know how it goes!

I was upset that this recipe didn't go the way I wanted it to, so the next night I tried classic risotto, which uses about 4 ingredients and that's it. Starts the same way, with about a tablespoon of olive oil. This time I used EVOO because I wanted the slightly stronger flavor. Plus, I'm cooking on medium heat this whole time. (EVOO burns at relatively low temperatures, which is why it's mostly used as a finisher and not to cook/fry things.) Fabio adds some butter but since I want to use this recipe for my work newsletter, I did not. After the onions were cooked, I added 2 handfuls of rice and let them cook for just a bit. (BTW, salt and pepper come into play somewhere, but since I'm out of town away from my notes at the moment and days removed from this experience, I can't remember exactly how often they were used.) This time I added white wine--Riesling because Fabio said use something you'd drink!--enough to cover the rice and let it reduce. Then I added in chicken broth and let that reduce, repeating 2 more times. When it was done, I turned off the fire, stirred in some parmesan cheese, a little more salt and voila! Done. And then I ruined it by sauteing mushrooms and putting them on top. (Really, anything should be cooked WITH, not set on top.) But this was muuuuuch better.


  1. Although now that I look at these, they both might be just a tad too thick.

  2. Ok, I don't know how to make risotto, in fact, I didn't really know what it was. I would like a lesson the next time we are together, looks yummy! I'm a follow-the-recipe kind of cook, so your explanation (although, wonderful) does not help me with measurements.

  3. You made it sound easy! Fun post, thanks!

  4. Well, Sister, I'll do my best, but Fabio's not a specific measurements kind of chef!