Weekly Winner: Pièce de Résistance Risotto

risottoWhat’s not to like about risotto, right?  It needs very little to be perfect.  Often, by adding a bunch of other stuff to it you only take away from the stunning simplicity of the dish.  Simple flavors are definitely the best.  The same can be said for tomatoes in summer.  Don’t mess with them.  They are fabulous just as they are — they need very little help to be sensational.  Put these two things together and you have the penultimate meal – Tomato and Parmesan Risotto.

The recipe for this bowl of awesomeness comes from Bon Appetit.  Honestly. after making this dish I am very tempted to trash all other risotto recipes.  They just seem overwrought and fussy.  However; perfect tomatoes will not be available year-round so maybe I’ll keep those other recipes around for the dead of winter.  Any other time, risotto means this dish.

Tomato and Parmesan Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), plus more shaved for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

  • Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm over medium-low heat until ready to use.

  • Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until golden and very soft, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it darkens slightly and begins to stick to pan, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and nutmeg, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the tomatoes begin to burst, about 2 minutes.

  • Stir in rice; season with salt, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring, until some grains are translucent, about 3 minutes. Ladle in 2 cups broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until completely absorbed, 8–10 minutes. Ladle in another 2 cups broth and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until rice is cooked through and most of the broth is absorbed, 12–15 minutes.

  • Add butter, 2 oz. Parmesan, and remaining 1 cup broth and cook, stirring constantly, until risotto is very creamy looking, about 4 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Divide risotto among bowls. Top with shaved Parmesan and lots of pepper and drizzle with more oil.

Weekly Winner: The Perfect Risotto

photoRisotto.  Creamy, luscious, warm, soothing, and gooey.  Really, what’s not to like?  And I do love risotto and always thought I was a bit of a purist about it until I discovered this recipe years ago.  I still make it regularly and I still consider it my favorite.  Don’t get me wrong — I’m still willing to try any and most recipes out there for risotto — but I always seem to come back to this one.  The recipe comes from Cooking Light Magazine.

Just a note here, almost every risotto recipe says that the whole adding broth and stirring process only takes 20 minutes and that risotto can be completed in 23 minutes.  LIES!  I have never had a risotto that didn’t take at least 45 minutes — and that’s just for the rice.  It is a bit of a labor of love but really, stirring isn’t that hard and you had to open wine for the recipe, so sip, stir and savor.  It will be worth it!

Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onions, and Bitter Greens

Ingredients

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)

2 teaspoons sugar

8 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1 cup Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice

1/3 cup white wine

2 cups arugula leaves

3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Preparation

 1. Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and sugar to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until onion is golden. Place onion mixture in a small bowl; set aside.

3. Removing casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add chopped shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add Arborio rice; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in white wine; cook 45 seconds or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup hot broth; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Remove from heat; stir in reserved onion, arugula, and remaining ingredients.