Thursday, August 13, 2009

Risotto di Rossotti

We have had some hot weather in Sacramento this summer, meaning mostly barbecue and salad. So, after a little time off, it is time to get back to working in the kitchen.

The cooking section in my library always fascinates me because you never know what you will find there. Today I found a great book "Rice" by Christine Ingram, and was inspired to make a risotto dish. Sadly, after picking up the ingredients, I discovered that the only rice in the house was a medium grain Calrose variety. The grains get moist and tender, but are not too starchy and hold together during cooking. The traditional rice for cooking a risotto is the short, plump Arborio variety. This grain has a firm inner starch called amylose that holds together while the outer starch, amylopectin, disolves during cooking giving the risotto a creamy texture. The trip to the library had already paid off.

Adapted from Biba Caggiano's "Biba's Northern Italian Cooking".

Fill a small saucepan one-third full with water. Bring water to a boil. Add a halved carrot and celery stalk. Cook over medium heat until barely tender, then finely chop.

Heat 7 cups of chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep hot over low heat.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. When butter foams, add onion. Today I cut up a couple of shallots. Saute over medium heat until onion becomes translucent. Add 2 1/2 cups of rice and mix well. When rice is coated with butter, add 3/4 cups of white wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated.

Mix in 1 to 2 ladles of broth, or enough to cover the rice. Stir over medium heat until the broth had been absorbed. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding broth a little at a time until rice is almost done, 10 to 15 minutes.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet. Add 1/4 pound of mushrooms. Saute until golden. Add sauteed mushrooms, 6 ounces of diced, frozen spinach, carrot, celery, parsley, 1/2 pound of prosciutto, and 1/3 cup of whipping cream to rice mixture. Mix well and season with salt.

Cook about 5 minutes longer. When rice is tender but firm to the bite, stir in 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Place in a warm dish. Serve immediately with the remaining parmesan cheese.

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