Parmesan and Herb Risotto

Today I went into uncharted territory, where no woman in my house has gone before…

I made a full meal – main dish and complicated side dish.

I will take any and all applause now, please.  (Can you tell I’m a little proud of myself?!)

I knew I wanted to re-make my Very Lemon Chicken from January since it was so tasty, but I thought that it would be cheating a little since I’d already made it before.  So I decided to challenge myself with a complex-ish side dish.

So here’s the details:

Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Parmesan and Herbs from Cooks Illustrated, May/June 2010

5 c low sodium chicken broth       1 c dry white wine

1 1/2 c water                           2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

4 T unsalted butter                           1 t fresh lemon juice

Table salt                                 2 T chopped parsley

1 medium minced garlic clove    2 T fresh chives

2 c Arborio rice                                Ground black pepper

1. Bring broth and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.

2. Heat 2 T butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat.  When butter has melted, add onion and 3/4 t salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened but not browned, 4 to 7 minutes.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent round edges, about 3 minutes.

3. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir 5 c hot broth mixture into rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is al dente, 16 to 19 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.

4. Add 3/4 c hot broth mixture and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes.  Stir in Parmesan.  Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining 2 T butter, lemon juice, parsley, and chives; season with salt and pepper to task.  If desired, add up to 1/2 c remaining broth mixture to loosen texture of risotto.  Serve immediately.

What I liked about this recipe was that it was supposedly almost hands-free.  And I love me some risotto, so I was hoping it would turn out well.

I was a little wary at first, that my husband would be home while I cooked this – as occaisionally his helpful commands advice can drive me a little crazy.  But today, it turned out to be for the best.  He actually kept me from the ledge a couple times when I was freaking out that things weren’t going right.

He started out by making the recipe smaller for our family.  This was a good idea in theory, but when I was in the thick of cooking, I would get confused looking at the amounts in the narrative in comparison to the reduced ones my husband suggested.  And it caused me some anxiety about the recipe turning out correctly (as he didn’t exactly halve it). 

I was pretty obsessive about the timing.  I actually used a timer whenever it suggested a time – though it always throws me off when it’s an approximate time.  I dealt with it, or at least ignored the longer time.  It seemed to work for me.

Another change I made was to change the white wine to sherry.  This was mostly because I didn’t feel like opening a fairly expensive bottle of wine for just 1 cup (or 1/2 cup in my version).  And it actually worked very well.

My only bad, bad moment was when I went to taste if my risotto was al dente.  I lifted the lid to lower in my spoon and completely steam-burned my finger.  To the point I was crying.  Again, a point where I was glad hubby was around.  He helped me gain my bearings and get back to cooking.

I had a couple small missteps where I added ingredients at the wrong time (darn my dyslexic recipe reading!) and forgot a minor action, but I did it. 

And the meal was perfect.  Absolutely perfect.

(Just don’t look too closely at my huge parsley flakes and onion slices.)

I am so proud…and so screwed.

As my husband put it, I just raised the bar.



7 thoughts on “Parmesan and Herb Risotto

  1. Hey,
    thanks again for the awesome tip of trying polyvore for my fashion collages! Awesome! Linked up your blog in my recent post to thank you!
    Can I follow your blog…is there a follow button so I can get you in my reader?
    Happy Friday,
    Chrissy xxx


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