August 19, 2010

Recipe of the week: Red wine risotto with crunchy pesto bread

The first time I went to Italy, 8 years ago, i discovered Risotto. It is creamy rice, usually cooked with a rice called Arborio (it absorbs water better than the other types of rice). There are so many variations for this dish! Seafood, mushroom, zucchini, with grilled eggplant and more! 

The process for making it is easy, but can be pricey if you don't have wine. My trick is that whenever I get a bottle of wine that I'm not particularly a fan of, i keep it because it's still great for cooking. Risotto is a pretty heavy meal! You can accompany it with meat...but if you do make sure the amount of meat is not huge because then the risotto will be too much. I made it for my best friend and served it with some easy to make crunchy pesto bread! It was delicious! Check it out!

For the risotto, you will need:
-1 cup of Arborio rice
-Stock (vegetable, chicken or beef), at least 3 cups.
-A bottle of red wine (or white wine, or rosé, it's up to you!)
-2 tablespoons of butter
-1 tablespoon of olive oil
-2 pieces of garlic, thinly chopped
-1 small onion, thinly chopped
-1/4 cup of chopped parsley
-Spices to your taste
-Parmesan cheese (optional)

-In a small pot, melt one 1 tbsp each of olive oil and butter. Add the onion and brown over high heat for about 2-5 minutes. Add the garlic. Stir.
-Add the risotto! Mix it with the ingredients that are in the pot.  I know this sounds weird, but Giada de Laurentiis from the Food Channel was right when she said that this is a good way for the rice to absorb all the flavours from the oil, butter etc..
-With the heat still on high, add one cup of stock, stir. DO NOT COVER! Wait until the water is completely absorbed. Add a cup of wine, wait until it is almost completely absorbed! Repeat process: stock-wine-stock-wine, until the rice is cooked and a little creamy. Don't let it dry out! 
-When your reach the desired consistency, add 1 tbsp of butter, the chopped parsley and spices. Mix slowly!
-Then, stir in the parmesan cheese, if you want. I don't because I am lactose intolerant :(

For the crunchy pesto bread, you will need:
-Pesto (I buy the one that is already made from Fontaine Santé, but it is really not expensive in the supermarket)
-Bread (I used baguette)

-Turn on the oven at 400, on grill.
-In a small bowl, mix about 2 tbsp of butter with 1 tbsp of pesto.
-Put the butter-pesto mix on bread.
-Put the bread in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until slightly browned.
-Serve with the risotto.

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