This month's challenge was risotto. One of the only requirements was that you had to make your own stock. Unfortunately this wasn't possible for me, due to time constraints. And what a shame, since I've had bags of vegetable scraps in my freezer just waiting for me to make some stock.
So I went instead with Mushroom Risotto with Peas courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis, which uses canned stock. However I did have to go searching for a place that sells dried porcini mushrooms, which I finally found at a high-end market down south, at the price of $10/oz.
- 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan.
Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.
Add the white mushrooms and garlic.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan.
Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
The risotto turned out creamy, and most of it was cooked "just right". Every now and then I would get a grain that was a little underdone (probably the grains that would stick to the spoon or the side of the pan, and therefore absorbed less moisture). I think it could have used a tad more salt though.
While I was in the gourmet market getting the dried porcini, I picked up some edible flowers for the spring salad.
And we finished off the meal with a nice and crusty strip steak!
So the meal turned out pretty good. The flowers were okay. The nasturtiums and dianthus or pinks were fine, but the one fat and curvy pink flower was a little floral tasting.
Good! Too bad that I couldn't meet all of the requirements and make my stock from scratch. So mark this one up as a "pass/fail", because it did both!