Friday, July 16, 2010

Cabin Fever

The month of June was wonderful, weather wise; the sun shone, we had BBQs, picnics in the park and the flipflops and sandals were dusted off for the duration.   School came out on the very last week and we holidayed in the UK, with the sun hitting off our backs.   Ah, it was glorious.............

Then July comes.   The rain with it and it Just Won't Stop.   We're used to rain of course but after a while spent in cagouls, braving the park in the downpour or getting soaked on a short trip to the shops, it all starts to get a bit....well, wet.   On top of it all, we are waiting to go camping...methinks the wait will linger a wee bit longer so I'm contemplating tossing us all on to a passing plane and heading for sunnier climes in Italy, France or Cornwall.   Any suggestions?

 Making Risotto

Making risotto is easy; it may not seem it but it really is, as long as you are happy standing at the cooker for 20 minutes because this is how long it takes to cook.   You make your stock and have it sitting next to you, still warm and ready to go alongside a glass of wine or champagne.   

To begin, gently fry onions and garlic (or whatever else you want to use...mushrooms, celery etc.) in some olive oil and butter until soft.   You add in the unwashed rice (I always add in a wee bit extra olive oil just before this) and 'gently fry' by stirring it around the oil for a good few minutes.   When it looks like no oil is left and the rice appears translucent, then pour in the wine. 

The amount depends on how much risotto you are cooking; approx. 400g/14 oz rice-2 pints of stock- 2 glasses of wine or alcohol like Noilly Pratt.

Stir until all all the wine has been soaked up and then add a ladle of stock and a pinch of salt to the risotto.   Stir until all the liquid is soaked up once again and repeat (without the salt!) until the stock has been used up.   Take your time, don't rush it; as long as you stir and add in the stock a little at a time, you can't go wrong.  It should take approx. 15 minutes.

You must taste it at this point; I prefer the rice to be soft although it is supposed to have a tiny little bite to it and I stop cooking at this stage as it is still to 'mature'; more on that in a moment.   If I don't feel the rice is ready by the time the stock runs out, I add in some water from the boiled kettle until it is.   Check seasoning.

Remove from the heat and add in a good handful of grated Parmesan alongside a great knob of butter (for the amount of cooked risotto above, approx. 4oz Parmesan and 2oz butter).  Stir well.

Now for the maturation!   You must put a lid on the pan and leave it to sit for approx. 2-3 minutes.   This is when the risotto changes into a wonderful, creamy dish as the butter and Parmesan works it's magic, the rice continues to soften a little and it all matures.

 A messy dod of risotto with peas but what a tasty dod it was!

I like to add cooked peas to my risotto alongside another grating of Parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper.   Utterly delicious!   I always have loads left over and, although purists would be banging their heads off the keyboard at this, I put the remainder in the fridge and use it throughout the week as an accompaniment to dinners; it goes particularly well with roast chicken.   Heat up in the microwave for 1 minute.   Enjoy.


mise said...

Risotto, one of my top favourites. I was reading someplace that you can make it by, at the stock stage, adding in all the stock, bringing it to the boil, then covering it and leaving it on a very very low heat. It worked fine! I tend to serve mine topped with roast veggies.

Acting Balanced Mom said...

I love risotto - never thought of adding peas, but often add parm... will try your method next time.


Caution Flag said...

I do hope things dry up for you and that July there is as bright and hot as July here. Well, maybe not this hot...

gaelikaa said...

Mmm....must study that risotto. It's something I've never tried, you know.

Maggie S said...

I made risotto once. Yours looks a lot better.

Unknown Mami said...

Sending you sunny thoughts.

Christa Terry said...

Ah, risotto! So delicious, but dang if it isn't a rather ugly food. I love it, but it just ends up looking like mush no matter how you photograph it.

koralee said...

Yummmy that does look tasty good my friend..I love risotto.
Sorry to hear about all the rain...our side of the world has been amazingly lovely.

Hugs for a great rest of your weekend. xoxo
Hope your camping weather comes soon.

Laura said...

You are opening up my world to so many things. I have never ventured near risotto because it seemed a delicate and tricky thing to make. You make it all seem achievable (I made the fish pie and was surprised at how delicious it was!)

I feel your rainy pain. We had a month of HOT, sunny lovely weather. We became spoiled and sat back on our laurels...then it changed to dreary and grey and damp. Now we are back to the standard blah mornings and I have to force myself to not let the weather bring down my spirits.
But I find the excitement of cooking new things helps!

Helen McGinn said...

mise, that makes sense; it's going to soak up eventually anyway, right?

Acting Balanced Mom, there is just something about peas that work so well in this for me and I just like the colour; I'm shallow like that. :O)

Caution Flag, I'm ever hopeful; it was nice last night and I'm determined to take the kids to the park today, regardless!

gaelikaa, it is a tasty treat and simple plus remember, you can add any ingredient of choice, as long as you add the wine and the stock too.

Maggie S, thank you; when I first made it, I didn't leave it to mature and as far as I was concerned, it didn't taste cooked. It put me off for ages. Now I realise you just keep going until it tastes right to you.

Unknown Mami, thanks hon, fingers crossed that today picks up. x

Christa, *L*, so true!

koralee, I do hope so, Scotland with a wee bit of sun is a grand place to be indeed. :O)

Laura, what a lovely thing to say; I'm so pleased! I'm glad the fish pie was a hit, it's a favourite of my eldest daughter here. I know what you mean about the weather; every year we just end up shaking of the cagouls, putting a smile on our face and getting on with it...we're used to it, after all! :O)

LisaDay said...

My vote is for Mont ST. Michel in France.

I will check out the link on youtube at home. It sounds great.


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