December 12, 2007

Slow Down with Slow Food

Risotto is the epitome of comfort food—creamy, cheesy, yummy. But, making it is not for the fair-weather cook. You can't just crank the heat, cover the pan and walk away from the stove while your meal cooks. You have to hold risotto's hand, gently stirring and adding warm broth as you go. There are no shortcuts. But don't get me wrong. As some might like you to believe, it's not hard, it's just time-consuming. So, if your an over-achiever type and can't fathom the idea of hanging out in the kitchen, maximize your time with some leg lifts or glute squeezes or whatever while you hover over your risotto. Or, if you can, just enjoy the moment and take a few deep breaths while you savor the aroma.

Since risotto requires constant attention, I recommend chopping and measuring all your ingredients before you get started. This may not be a new practice for some, but I tend to wing it as I make my way through a recipe. It's not unusual for me to be digging around my spice cupboard looking for something I thought I had, but now can't find.

Common with most risotto recipes, this version called for butter. I am trying really hard to cut out butter fat, so just used olive oil. I didn't miss it at all and still managed to come up with a bowl of moist and creamy wonderfulness.

I should also add that I like to cook with Meyer lemons. They are sweeter than conventional lemons, so they add more flavor than tartness. If you can find them, try them.

A girl can't live on carbs alone (that's not to say I don't try), so I served this dish layering the risotto, then sauteed spinach, and topping with sliced Monte Cristo chicken.


Lemon Risotto
from Epicurious

6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups hot broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Season risotto with salt and pepper.

Pollo Monte Cristo
from Epicurious

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
Herbes de Provence
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 tablespoon butter
Julienned lemon zest (optional)

Heat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence. Dust with flour; tap off excess. Cook, meaty side down, 5 minutes. Turn over; cook 1 minute. Add garlic and shallot; stir 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Add stock; cook 30 seconds. Add lemon juice. Transfer pan to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 9 to 13 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Place pan over medium heat; simmer sauce 1 minute. Add butter; swirl pan until butter incorporates and sauce thickens slightly. Cut each breast into 4 slices; transfer each to a plate; top with sauce and garlic. Serve with spinach; garnish with zest, if desired.


Anonymous said...

Wow this looks so good. Righ upmy alley! :)

rach257 said...

wow!!! this looks so good! i printed this same lemon risotto recipe from epicuriou sand have been wanting to try it! YUM!!!

MrsPresley said...

i love risotto... lemon risotto sounds wonderful!