Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tomato-Basil Risotto

My inspiration for this recipe came from a friend's wiki and after reading it, it was all I could think about making for the next week. So you can only imagine my disappointment when I discovered that there was no basil at the grocery store. I was horrified and in a state of disbelief? How can a grocery store not have fresh basil?

Risotto is not at all hard to make but it does require time, patience, and strong arms. I think people get fed up because you have to constantly stir but I think it is so worth it for the creamy rich results you get in the end. I made risotto for the first time about a month ago (onion feta). The cookbook I used said that I would need 4 cups of broth but in the end I probably used 61/2 cups. I personally like the suggestion that Deborah Madison makes in her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. She suggests a range of 51/2 to 61/2 cups.

I winged this recipe. I was going to use a recipe that a friend had posted on his wiki but alas the wiki was down last night but is now working as I write this entry of course! So from memory and the help of another similar recipe from Easy Vegetarian, I came up with the following:

Makes 4 servings
Cooking time: 45 minutes

-2 tbsp butter
-1 c onion, chopped finely
-2 cloves garlic, minced finely
-4-5 cups vegetarian broth
-1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, unsalted
-1/3 cup grated Parmesan
-1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
-black pepper to taste

Basic Preparation for any Risotto Dish
1. Simmer stock on stove.
2. Melt butter in a wide non-stick wide skillet so that that the broth can cook quickly. A tall narrow pan will not work.
3. Add onion and cook until softened, but not brown on medium heat. Onions create the base flavor.
4. Add rice to skillet. Stir until grains are coated with butter.
6. Begin adding stock. You want the heat to be high enough such that the liquid absorbs in 2-3 minutes. Start by adding 1 cup of broth and follow-up with 1/2 cup increments with constant stirring.

Preparation for Tomato-Basil Risotto
In large non-stick wide skillet, melt butter and saute onions until softened. Add garlic, mix well. Add arborio rice. Stir until grains are thoroughly coated with butter. Add 1 cup of simmering broth, stirring until it has been absorbed. Repeat with 1/2 cup increments. After 10 minutes, add diced tomatoes. Because the diced tomatoes are juicy, it will take longer than 3 minutes to get all the liquid absorbed. At this point, I would do a little taste test to see how the rice is doing. For me it was still nutty and chalky. Continue to add simmering broth in 1/2 cup increments for another 8-10 minutes, until rice are tender but firm.

Add 1/2 cups broth, Parmesan, basil, pepper. Mix well, remove from heat, cover, and let rest for 2 minutes.

Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with grated Parmesan, and serve right away.

I was so excited about this I almost didn't take pictures.

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