Don't be frightened of risotto. It is a lot easier to make than you think. If you tried the polenta you can make this too.
A Brief History
Rice came to Italy from Spain and flourished throughout the Po Valley. Italians who had already developed and had a fondness for polenta, tried a similar cooking method with newly cultivated rice. The result of this method was risotto, a rice dish unlike those found anywhere else in the world. Risotto, when made properly, is a creamy and versatile dish.
Here is one of my favorite ways to cook risotto.
Green Onion Risotto with Brie
- 1 bunch - Vidalia Salad Onions (These look like scallions on steroids and they are not always available. If you cannot find them buy two bunches of regular scallions)
- 1 bunch - Scallions (or 2, see above)
- 2 cloves - Garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup - Arborio Rice
- 1 32oz container - Chicken or Vegetable Broth (Make sure it is at room temp.)
- 3 oz - Brie at room temp (If you are allergic to cows milk or just want to try something different use goat brie.)
- 1 cup - White Wine (Dry is fine, but if you already have a bottle of something a little sweeter open and need to use it just use a little less.)
- 1 Tbsp - Butter
- 2 Tbsp - Olive Oil
- 1/4 tsp - Lemon Zest
- 1/4 cup - Lemon Juice
- Salt and Pepper
First, chop the white part at the bottom of the vidalias or scallions up to where the start to turn green. Set aside the top part of the scallion for later. You can save the top of the salad vadalia too, but it can be tough. I recommend using it in a homemade veggie stock.
Saute the white part of the onion in the oil and butter in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Once it becomes translucent add the cup of rice and the garlic. Stir the rice until it begins to brown in the butter and oil. It is important that the rice becomes toasted, because it helps to bring out the starches that will make the end result creamy.
Once the rice has started to brown add the wine and stir well. Let the wine cook off and add one cup of stock. Again, stir frequently until the stock has almost completely cooked down. Then add another cup repeating this process until the risotto is creamy and tender. You may not use all of the stock, so after you have added two or three cups of stock be sure to taste the risotto to see how it is coming along before adding more.
With the risotto cooked add the lemon zest and juice. Let it cook down until liquid is cooked out of the risotto. Add the brie (remove the rind and slice into small pieces first) and stir until well incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with a small handful of thinly chopped scallions.
If you have any left over the next day make risotto cakes. Mix the cooked risotto with fresh chopped scallion and one egg yolk. Make a ball, about the size of a meatball, and roll it in some bread crumbs (panko crumbs are the best). Now fry them in olive oil until golden brown.