Blog-checking lines: The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
Ok, I wouln't say that risotto is a real challenge for me. I've already made lots of risottos in my life, specially at culinary school. Regular, Arborio, Carnarolli and Vialone Nano rice. But I love it. It is an amazing confort food. It doesn't matter if you are italian or not.
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I always have some kind of stock in my freezer. I don't cook with industrial stock. Never. I hate it.
And, of course, a good stock is the most important secret for a delicious risotto.
So here is my 3 risottos:
1º Lamb and peas - I had some lamb meat leftover, so I used its bones to make a superb stock, then I added some peas and voilá. As simple as that. I serve it with a sirloin steak.
Can you see the smoke coming from the risotto?
2º This was a sweet one. Nothing special. I just made a traditional recipe of arroz doce ( sweet rice). I think it's pretty much the same as your rice pudding. Here in Brasil we are used to cook it with regular rice, but since it has become easy to find all these italian rices in the supermarkets I've switched to it. Much more creamy and yummi.
I added some cinnamon, pistachios and orange zests to taste and decorate.
3º Jerked beef, pumpkin and mascarpone cheese (yes, a leftover from the tiramisu) risotto, served with taioba leaves (Xanthosoma sagittifolium or arrowleaf elephant's ear) and fried onions. So one can say that despite the mascarpone cheese and the fried onions, it's a "brazilian" risotto. First picture at the top of this post.
I don't know how do you call this kind of pumpkin in English, but this was the one I used.
and not this one
Every risotto has the same basic recipe
Onion small diced
Olive oil or/ and butter
Risotto rice - arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano rice
Stock - chicken, beef, vegetable, fish etc
Heat oil and/or butter in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil/butter and toast slightly. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two).
Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed. Repeat this again and again, making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step.
Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation. I like to add a spoonful of cold butter to the risotto, just before serving it. It will provide an extra creamy and shining (is that correct? or should I say bright ?) look.
Lamb risotto: lamb meat previously baked, lamb stock and frozen peas.
Brazilian risotto: cooked and stir-fried jerked beef, cooked and smashed pupkin, mascarpone cheese.
Taioba leaves: A bunch of taioba chopped and stir-fried with olive oil, garlic and onions.
Sweet risotto: just change the stock for milk (and of course won't fry any onion), add sugar and a can of condensend milk at the end of cooking.
One of the first dinner we made in this Gastronomic Lab, I cooked a strawberry, almonds, Parma ham and champagne risoto. Although the picture is not very good, you can see it here (portuguese version). I used veggie stock, 200g Parma, 200g stawberry, 150g almonds and 2 glasses of champagne.
Thank you Eleanor and Jess for this challenge. Cooking (and eating) risottos is always a great pleasure.