Thursday, April 22, 2010

Artichoke and Tomato Risotto / Basics of Rissoto

I forgot to post this yesterday because I was too tired to post another item on the blog. Because I did not make anything today, I guess the risotto will fill today's spot. Instead, I went to UCLA's new cafe 1919 and WOW! Thank you Rich for swiping me some panini and gelato! The food there was quite good. I was more impressed with the variety of gelato the cafe had. I remembered that I only had 5-6 flavors of Hagen-daz ice cream when I lived in the dorms. In addition, UCLA has more drinks now. Back then, I only had Aquafina, Pepsi, and Gatorade. Now they have Orangina and Izzy sodas. I am jealous!

Anyways, I am going to reiterate the basics of making risotto in this post. Apparently, one of my friends tried making risotto the other day. He got a lump of charcoal in return.

Things to remember when cooking Risotto
1. Be patient! You have to keep watching the risotto unless you have the timing right for how long the stock will be absorbed. Stare at your risotto like your in love with it!
2. The stock needs to be hot! Simmering HOT! If it is cold, well your rice won't cook.
3. Add stock in small parts at a time so that each time it barely covers the rice.
4. Keep stirring occasionally or else you will have a fun time in the dish room.
5. Ratio of rice to stock needed is about 1 cup rice to 3-4 cups stock.
6. Make your own stock or buy good quality stock that does not have chemicals added.
7. Use butter because butter makes everything taste good xD
8. Use large diameter pan so that you have more surface area to cook and to stir

Artichoke and Tomato Risotto

1 Artichoke
1 Roma tomato
1 cup Arborio rice or similar
4 cups Stock of choice (vegetable, chicken, beef)
1/2 cup White wine
5 Cremini mushrooms
3 cloves Garlic
1 Shallot
4 tbs Butter (set aside one tbs in the refrigerator)
Salt and pepper
Romano cheese
Lemon juice
Fennel springs for garnish (I had some leftover from the bruschetta)

Prep work
1. Dissect the artichoke for its heart (you can also buy frozen artichoke hearts)
Note: I think this video does a good job of explaining how to murder an artichoke.
2. steam or grill the artichoke (30-40 minutes for steaming or 20 minute steaming and 10-15 minute for grilling)
3. Slice the artichoke into strips and set aside with a little lemon juice squeezed on them.
4. Slice the mushrooms
5. Finely dice the shallots and garlic
6. Coarsely dice the tomatoes and drain the liquid by straining them
7. Simmer stock

Cooking time!
1. Melt butter in a large pan
2. Add shallots and garlic under translucent
3. Add rice and cook until translucent
4. Add wine until the rice absorbs the wine
5. Now slowly add the stock until enough broth barely covers the rice
6. Once the rice absorbs the stock, repeat the process again until rice is al dante (about 20 minutes)
Note: Halfway through this process, add mushrooms and artichoke.
Note: If you are ran out of stock before the rice has reached al dante, use water or milk and cover with a lid for about 5 minutes to check if the rice is done.
7. When the rice is done, add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and mix.
8. Add the 1 tbs of cold butter
9. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the rice and mix until the ingredients are incorporated together and garnish!

Ah. If you mess up again, just keep trying. It is a good way to test your patience.

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