Monday, September 13, 2010

Like white on rice

Although risotto is considered a very serious dish in Italian food, it actually started out as a joke. As the legend goes a young apprentice was staining the glass used in the Duomo di Milano, a magnificent gothic cathedral, in 1574. He was relentlessly teased because it looked as if he had added saffron to pigments in order to obtain more vibrant and brilliant colors. When it came time for his master’s wedding, he decided to play a little joke to show how tired he was of the teasing. So, he added saffron to the rice that was to be served at the wedding. The plan backfired and the rice was so popular amongst the wedding guests that it became the staple of Italian food that we know today.

Fresh Tomato Risotto
  • 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Butter
  • Salt, To Taste
  • 6 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 Lb Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Clove Garlic, Chopped
  • 2 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (plus additional for garnish)
Chop fresh tomatoes. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan, sauté the chopped garlic for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook them down for about 15 minutes.  Keep at a low simmer.
Heat the chicken broth and keep just below a simmer.
In a large non-stick sauté pan, sauté the onion in the olive oil and butter, with a dash of salt, until it begins to turn golden.   Add the rice to the sautéed onion and stir it gently in the pan for about 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and stir as it is absorbed.
Add a soup ladle of the heated broth and stir, keeping the mixture just at a simmer. Keep stirring until the broth is nearly all absorbed into the rice, then add a ladle of tomato sauce and the chopped herbs, and stir until that is nearly absorbed. Continue this way, alternating broth and sauce until the sauce is used up, then carry on with the broth until the rice is al dente. This process will take about 25 minutes, and at the end a creamy sauce will form around the rice grains that are tender but firm.
At the moment the rice is no longer crunchy, stir in a last ladle of hot broth, and the grated Parmesan cheese, and serve the risotto at once.
Garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese

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