Monday, June 25, 2007

Risotto with Peas, Saffron, Tomatoes, and Basil


Dead easy. Start by sauteing a couple of shallots (minced) and a pinch of saffron (crushed with a mortar and pestle) with olive oil. Add a half-cup of arborio rice and cook for a few minutes till you see the grains going translucent. Add a large, peeled, diced tomato and a generous splash of white wine. Cook, stirring, until it's mostly absorbed (you can see the bottom of the pan when you drag a spoon through). Enjoy the bright Mediterranean colors your dinner is taking on. Begin adding two cups of chicken stock in quarter-cup increments, cooking and stirring till absorbed between each addition. The rice will gradually begin to give up its starch and go all creamy. Switch to water if you run out of stock. When the rice is close to being done to your liking, add a generous handful of fresh or frozen peas. Right before serving, stir in a third of a cup of grated parmesan cheese. Serve in a wide, shallow bowl, topped with a handful of basil chiffonade (i.e., stack your basil leaves, roll them into a tight cylinder, and cut the cylinder into thin, thin slices with a sharp knife so you wind up with a pile of delicate little strips of leaf) and additional cheese, and grind on some fresh black pepper. Lovely.

4 comments:

Mike said...

This item was looking forlorn without comments, so I just thought I'd point out that you can also use a basil chiffonadier. (On a related note, I saw today at a flea market something called an onion steamer. It's a good thing it was clearly labeled as an onion steamer: to the untrained eye, it could have been mistaken for a ceramic baking dish with a lid.)

Rob said...

Well, of course every household needs an onion steamer. There's nothing like a good hot steamed onion.

hsempl said...

oh, yum, that is lovely. and sure, dead easy ; ) if i have rob cook it! well, maybe i can try it- it looks like everything can go right if i've done my prep and have all the ingredients handy. which is not my usual way...

i wonder if vegetarian stock would work? i know some things just don't work the same at all without the meat. i think given that picture and description i'll have to try!

Rob said...

Oh, sure, vegetable stock would work fine. I've made good risotto using broth made from Knorr vegetable boullion cubes, no problem. Just be aware of the salt level and moderate your seasonings accordingly.