Wednesday, 15 August 2007

risotto and wool (not together)

A few posts back I mentioned I had been making risotto. What I didn't mention is what a contentious issue it is in our household. Those that know and love my husband will know that he is never short of an opinion and one of the few areas where our opinions are sharply divided is the culinary minefield that is risotto, and more particularly, the extent to which it should be cooked.

Now my opinion, which of course is the right one, is that the rice should be cooked, but each grain still quite separate. The other opinion, which is downright wrong, is that it should be cooked to such a degree that the rice all but breaks down into mush resembling rice cereal.

Forget the usual issues that bring a marriage to its knees - risotto it is. I wonder what Dr Phil would make of that? Perhaps we could take it Jerry Springer. I'm good at swearing and I'm sure I could throw a chair.....

The risotto variety I mentioned was chicken, pumpkin and porcini mushrooms and here it is, by popular request:

1 medium onion
1 stick celery
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup diced pumpkin (no larger than 1cm dice)
handful dried porcini mushrooms
1 chicken breast
2 litres chicken stock
parmesan cheese to taste (lots of it in my case)

Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup warm water until soft. Drain and reserve the liquid

Bring the stock to a simmer in a small pot, add the mushroom liquid. Poach the chicken breast until just barely cooked (it will continue to cook in the risotto).

Remove chicken and shred.

Finely chop the onion and celery and soften in a tbs butter using a big pot. When really soft, add the garlic (as much or as little as you like. You can leave it out, just don't tell me about it).

Add the rice and the pumpkin. Toss for a few minutes so that all the rice is coated in the butter and is a bit toasted.

Add the stock 1 ladel full at a time, making sure all the liquid has been absorbed between additions. Keep stirring all the time.

Keep doing this until the rice and pumpkin is cooked (should take about 18-20 minutes.

Add the chicken and the mushrooms and half the parmesan cheese. Add pepper to taste and a bit more butter if you like.

Turn off heat and cover the pot. Let it stand for a few minutes.

Serve and top with more cheese.

This will serve about four.

And just to finish off - a bit of yarn porn. It arrived today after a bit of fast needle work, some of it will look like this. It's off to a new home in Wisconcin with its matching scarf.

available at my Etsy store


annalaura said...

I was talking with a woman from work who said she puts a whole bottle of wine in her risotto. I said that it wasn't right, and you should put about 150 ml. I decided to check my Marcella Hazan cookbook and she only put in 150ml or so. But I noticed you didn't even have wine in yours. I also have to agree with the risotto having individual grains. Maybe that is because you don't have to stir as long. I also have to have it with salad as it is too much otherwise. Oh and I sometimes make it in the oven and it works out really well. I saw Delia do it once and thought, too easy!

h&b said...

I put wine is most everything - but none in any of my risotto's, as far as I can recall ( in response to previous commenter )

I like mine to be softer than al denté, and firmer than mush.

Actually, I just like it served to me, in a restuarant, cooked by someone other than me :p

Yummo though - I want some now !

persuede said...

well I don't mind saying that your husband is clearly wrong. no question :)

persuede said...

lol...glad to be of assistance

Cathy said...

oh yum!

i'm of italian background and technically (apparently) risotto is meant to be served a little al dente but i agree with 2nd comment re "softer than al dente but firmer than mush" and even moreso with the comment about liking it better cooked by someone else and served to me in a's one of the things i always order! lol

i do a cheating one as well sometimes where the stock goes in all at once and then simmers, reduces etc... tastes nice as's a mushroom one.

will definitely try this out as soon as i get time!!!!

thanks for sharing :)

posiepatchwork said...

Well, risotto is actually one of those dishes i can cook, cook well, & when my husband is away, i find it feeds the 4 children with left overs for the following evening. I generally eat as a cook/ stir, I don't drink alcohol, however, have cooked risotto with champagne when short on white wine. My husband is of Italian background & doesn't like risotto, thus me cooking it, & when he's away. I find it alarming that he can happily eat ration packs in the dirt (he's in the Army people, not destitute) yet turns up his nose as my risotto. I cook it as an all in kind of meal, like you throw everything in a Spanish omlete, use up all the vegetables in the fridge. I've eaten a family friendly cheesey one, cooked by an Italian friend, it was beautiful, but our children tend to just like a little parmasan on top, which they insist is shaved on request. We're breeding culinary maniacs. As it's so enjoyable to eat as it cooks, you know how some children eat raw pasta . . . anyway, i hang around & reduce, top up, reduce, top up. The flavours are beautiful. This is also on an Army issue element top stove (crappy, not gas) in Le Creuset, so i'm sure i've completely made up my own style, not fit for adult taste bud consumption. Surely if you are a busy mother with lots of children, anything home baked from scratch gets a thumbs up?? My husband does all our cooking, just not risotto. Love Posie