1. Taking up the flying trapeze
2. Changing from a Republican Senator to a Democratic Senator
3. Escaping from Somali pirates
4. Making risotto
Unfortunately, I can only give you step-by-step guidance on #4, although #2 seems fairly self-explanatory.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite recent cookbook acquisitions, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. I included some handy tricks from my recent cooking class, too.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1-2 large or 2-3 small garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2/3 c. tightly-packed fresh young basil leaves
- 2 heaping teaspoons of pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1/4 c. freshly grated Romano cheese
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbs. butter
- 1 medium onion, minced
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 heaping c. Italian Arborio rice
- 1/4 c. dry white wine
- 3 1/2-4 c. chicken stock*, heated on the stove until warm
Start by pureeing the garlic and salt. You can use a food processor from the beginning, but I like to do this part in a mortar and pestle and then transfer the mush to the food processor. Gradually add the basil and then the pine nuts. Add the cheeses and the oil, and process everything to a rough, yummy paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. At this point you can use it for anything (pasta, bread spread, egg topper), or set it aside for your risotto.To make the Risotto:
In a heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium heat, adding the onions with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Saute until the onions are soft and clear, about 3 minutes. Blend in the garlic and the rice, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often.
Raise the heat to medium high. Stir in the wine, and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Begin adding the broth, 1 cup at a time, simmering and stirring each addition until the liquid is absorbed by the rice before adding the next cup. After cooking in about 2 1/2 cups, add the broth in 1/2 c. increments, and begin tasting the risotto.
You will know it is ready when the rice is close to tender, with a little more firmness to the bite than you would like, and it should be nearly soupy. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand for 3 minutes. It will finish cooking and absorb a little more liquid as it rests.
* You can use vegetable broth instead, if you want to make this vegetarian.
1. Never cover the pot.
2. The broth needs to be warm when you add it.
3. The total cooking time once you start adding broth should be about 15 minutes.
After the sitting part, fold in the pesto. Sprinkle with pine nuts if you like, and serve to your awestruck guests.
Got any more stunts to add to my list?