I have a thing for risotto. Over the years in Malaysia and time after time, i have been disappointed by the quality of risotto that we have available. Although that general statement has somewhat changed due to the quality of Italian restaurants sprouting from every corner of Kuala Lumpur, it is still rather hard to find a good satisfying version.
So i thought; is risotto really so hard to make? After finding a few online recipes and adapting essentially the method of cooking, i set out to make my own version.
Here goes, probably the hardest and most time consuming dish i ever had to make.
1. Arborio rice - Half cup to one cup of rice per portion
2. Stock - Chicken, Beef or Vegetable (Home made or of the shelf) - Roughly half litre per portion
3. A vegetable component that can be cut into small cubes i.e. green beans, broccoli or mushrooms
4. Bacon - 1-2 strips per portion
5. Garlic, onion or shallots (2 cloves of garlic/shallots or half an onion per portion
6. Butter - A knob
7. Parmesan cheese - As you wish
8. Salt and pepper - To your tastebud
1. Stir fry your garlic, onions or shallots in the pan with olive oil and some butter till they brown and become fragrant. Add the chopped bacon in after that and let it cook for a minute or two. At the same time, heat up stock in a separate pot.
2. Put your washed arborio rice into the pan and cook it for 2-3 minutes, mixing it around to ensure that the rice doesn't get burnt or stuck onto the pan.
3. Ladle enough stock to cover the rice and give it the occasional stir.
This is how it should look like, mid way.
4, Once the rice has absorbed the stock, repeat step 3. This should take maybe 4-5 rounds of putting stock onto the rice and stirring it. After the 4th or 5th round, taste to see if the rice is cooked to your liking, if it is still not cooked, continue putting stock in and cooking it to your liking. If you feel that the stock you are using is quite salty, you can dilute it with water or substitute one of the rounds with water.
5. With the vegetables, you can either choose to blanch them and put it into the risotto at the last few minutes or choose to put it in raw in the middle of Step 4.
6. Once you feel that the rice is cooked, grate the cheese into the risotto.
7. Give it a few final stirs and put salt and pepper till to your liking and voila, you should have successfully made your first risotto!
This was done with chicken stock, green beans and bacon. I didn't have any parmesan and i used cheddar slices, it still worked out pretty well.
On another try, i had it with broccoli and had it with some marinated grilled pork slices. If you put less cheese, you will get a slightly runny texture like the picture above. If you want it to be more dry, you can leave it to cook for a little while longer.
Now that i realise how easy risotto can be made, who needs to go out and eat?