Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Risotto {a little taste of heaven}

Here's a riddle for you...
What is creamy, flavorful, surprisingly easy and practically melts in your mouth?

If you guessed "risotto" you are absolutely correct! :) I recently discovered this fantastic side dish and I am in is the perfect way to dress up a meal and eat your helping of rice in a whole new and improved way!

The first time I made risotto, I needed to use up some butternut squash, so I googled a recipe for it - and it was out of this world! Unfortunately, it did not make it's way into pictures...but I knew I would try it again. This time, I made "plain" risotto (although plain is hardly a word I would use to describe this heavenly concoction...) from a recipe off of a site I knew I could trust- Olive Garden. Another love of mine is the Olive Garden restaurant, so I was sure that even though I have never had risotto there, it would be fantastic! And once again, Olive Garden did not let me down. The risotto was creamy and bursting with flavor. The thing I love about risotto is that unlike the regular rice cooking method, you boil the rice in liquid uncovered, so that the majority of it that is not absorbed by the rice evaporates, leaving only the concentrated flavor.

I served the delectable risotto alongside one of my favorite chicken dishes, chicken breasts simmered in a balsamic vinegar and garlic sauce, and they were a perfect match.

serves 4 (can be easily halved for 2)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (you can also use medium grain rice, although it may require longer cooking time)
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 TB butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
fresh parsley to taste (I didn't have any on hand, so dried parsley works too!)

Heat oil, add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until soft.
Keep broth warm in separate pot.
Add rice to onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. 
Add white wine and let evaporate. Add the broth 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed by the rice before adding the next cup. Continue to add broth until rice is creamy and cooked to al dente (slightly firm). Turn off heat.
Add butter and cheese and stir to combine. 
Garnish with parsley.

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