Last week, I was fresh out of ideas for dinner. It’s no secret I’ve been in a cooking rut. Our dinners have been chicken, chicken, and more chicken, with a side of chicken veggies. I sent an email to my friend Colleen, searching for inspiration for that night’s meal as well as future meals. She quickly responded with lots of wonderful suggestions.
It’s no wonder she’s a janitor at works at MIT.
Col suggested that I try Emeril’s Three-Cheese Risotto, having recently made it herself. I glanced at the recipe and realized I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. Dishes that use pantry staples are my favorite. I knew it would be a welcome side dish to cook with that night’s dinner, which was, you guessed it, chicken!
As you know, I’m not huge on pasta or rice. Call me crazy, but I prefer veggies on the side. Lloyd doesn’t care either way. Whenever I make a dish using pasta or chicken, we eat a little, and inevitable toss the rest, so it’s not often that I bother. This dish was a good as Colleen promised. Totally worth all the stirring required for risotto.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- Salt and white pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 pound Arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives (I subbed dried)
- In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until the onions are slightly soft.
- Add the stock and garlic. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 6 minutes.
- Add the rice and simmer for 18 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the mixture is creamy and bubbly.
- Add the butter, cream, cheese and chives. Re-season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes and serve immediately.
This was only my third time trying my hand at risotto. (The others were pre-blog.) I don’t find it to be as intimidating so much as time-consuming. Risotto requires a a keen eye… and a strong arm! This time the rice was more al dente than it should have been. I took the pictures after it was reheated so it’s hard to tell that it was, in fact, creamy… even if it didn’t turn out quite as creamy as I would have liked. Regardless there was no denying the wonderful taste!
I enjoyed the different flavor combos this had going on: the onion and garlic, the mixture of the sharp cheeses, and the unexpected addition of chives. (Something I don’t cook with nearly enough!)
Although this is not a good example of what risotto should look like, I encourage you to give it a go. People perceive it as a complicated process, but it’s really just a little practice and a lot of attention.