Posts Tagged ‘risotto’

French Onion Risotto

March 31, 2011

Today is my husband’s birthday, but we celebrated with his birthday dinner last night. One of his favorite things that I make is risotto. I was going to just make plain risotto with shallots, garlic, chicken broth and parmesan. It’s a perfectly delicious dish. But then something happened.

Last weekend, my husband made his famous French onion soup. We had his sister and her boyfriend over and we all devoured it. They loved it so much, they wanted the recipe. So he sent it to them yesterday and copied me on the e-mail so I’d have it too. Then it hit me: combine the French onion soup recipe with my risotto recipe. Could it work? I had onions, I had thyme, port, bacon and gruyere left over from when he made the soup. Yep, I could make this happen without a trip to the market! So I did and now I’m sharing the recipe with you.

4 strips of center cut bacon

1 1/2 very large or 3 small onions, diced

2 Tbsp. salted butter

5 cups low fat, low sodium chicken or beef stock (veal stock would be ideal, but it’s hard to come by)

a few sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

2 cups arborrio rice

1/4 cup port

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup dry vermouth

1/3 cup grated gruyere cheese

parmesan cheese to taste

salt, if needed, to taste

1 Tbsp. heavy cream (optional)

1 tsp. truffle oil

Put the bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat and let the fat render out of it for about 5 minutes on each side, then remove if from the pan. You can either use the bacon for something else, or chop it up and sprinkle it on top of the risotto just before serving.

Turn the heat down to medium low and add the diced onions to the pan with the bacon fat. Cook them slowly for a long time until they are completely soft, a little translucent and starting to brown, stirring every few minutes. This could take a good 30-45 minutes, but it will be worth it. Be patient here, and it will really pay off.

In the meantime, put the stock into a pot and turn on the heat. Add in the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and bring to almost a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cover to keep hot.

Add the butter to the pan with the onions and turn the heat up to medium. Add in the rice and toast it in the fat/onion mixture until it just starts to brown and the grains start to look translucent.  Add in the port, balsamic vinegar and vermouth. Stir until it is all absorbed.

Now you start the process of slowly adding stock and stirring over and over again until your risotto is perfect. Add in 3/4 cup of stock, then stir until it’s completely absorbed. Do not let the rice mixture come to a boil. You want to cook it slowly. Repeat until you’ve used all the stock and the rice is tender, but still has a slight bite to it, al dente.

Add in the cream and the truffle oil, if you’re using it. I highly recommend you use that truffle oil. Yeah, it’s expensive but it will take the risotto from yummy to mind blowing. Now add in the cheese and taste for saltiness. If it needs salt, add it. Mine needed about 1/4 tsp. Eat up and enjoy!

Recipe makes enough for 4 people as a main dish or 6 people as a side dish. There are only two of us, so we have a lot left over. You’re not really supposed to serve left over risotto, but when have I ever followed the rules when it comes to food? I had it for breakfast this morning and it was delicious!

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Butternut Squash Risotto

October 14, 2009

This is a recipe I thought I’d never share. But I’m feeling generous today, so here it is. This is the best risotto I’ve ever had. If you don’t make this, you are missing out big time. I have to mention that this is adapted from a recipe from the good people at America’s Test Kitchen. You can substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth to make it vegetarian. But you really need the cheese, so this cannot be made into a vegan recipe.

2 lb. butternut squash

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 small brown onions

1 cup water

4 cups fat free low salt chicken broth

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

2 cloves garlic

2 cups arborrio rice

1 1/2 cups dry vermouth

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped sage

3 + 1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. heavy cream (optional)

Peel squash, remove and SAVE the seeds/pulp. Chop up the peeled squash into 1/2″ pieces. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a large saute pan at med/high heat. Once hot, add squash in one even layer and don’t move it for 5 minutes. If there is extra squash, save it for another recipe.  Stir squash for an additional 5 minutes and remove from pan and save.

Add seeds and pulp to the pan. Cook 4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup water, scraping up all the brown bits. Transfer , seeds and all, to a stock  pot with 4 cups chicken broth. Simmer 10-15 minutes, then strain and return liquid to stock pot. Keep the liquid hot, but not quite at a simmer.

Add 3 Tbsp. butter, chopped onions, salt, pepper and nutmeg to saute pan over medium/high heat. Once onions are soft, add garlic. Immediately add rice and stir until the rice is toasted/translucent. Add vermouth and stir until completely absorbed.

Now comes the fun part! Add 2/3 cup of the hot broth to the rice and stir until it’s all absorbed. Keep doing this over and over again until you’ve used up all the liquid or the risotto is al dente and creamy. You may need less liquid or even a little more. Just keep tasting a grain or two of the rice for doneness.

To finish it, add back the cooked squash, parmesan cheese, fresh chopped sage and 1 Tbsp. butter. Sometimes, if I have it around, I add a tablespoon of heavy cream right at the end. Now go make it and eat it!