That’s Risotto

October 14, 2010 at 12:01 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

So I thought this blog would serve as a nice outlet during these crazy campaign days, but when it gets as busy as it has been up here in New Hampshire blogging is just not an option!  It’s a shame too because I’ve found a couple nights where I could actually cook up a storm!  The campaign’s over Nov. 2nd so hopefully my next job (which is still TBD) will allow for a bit more time to update this saucy little page.

Any who!  Now that I’ve given you excuse number 23940593 as to why I haven’t kept up to date on this, I’ve got to talk about one thing, and one thing alone:

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…that’s RISOTTO!!!  Ok not really…

It is one of my favorite dishes, especially in the fall and winter.  For a LONG time, I couldn’t order it in any restaurant because my dad’s is just so good.  When my parents would ask what I wanted for my birthday dinner? Time and time again? Dad’s risotto.  He made it with peas, mushrooms and shrimp and it always had a little kick to it.  This risotto was exactly how it should be; velvety, rich, comforting.  Because of my new found desire to educate myself in cooking and wine, and clearly being my father’s daughter, I had to attempt this!

Ive taken 2 attempts, the first was good…not great.  I used a textbook recipe just to learn so that the next time I could really make it delicious!  So, with no further ado, here is the cookie cutter risotto recipe I used with my own twists (in italics) on it:

Ingredients:

– 2 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium to keep this is BIT healthier)

– butter (making Paula Deen proud!)

– 1 cup Arborio rice

– 1/4 cup dry white wine

– 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp Mascarpone cheese

– salt

red pepper

– mushrooms

– peas, thawed if frozen

– one small onion

– garlic

Directions:

In one medium pan, bring 2 cups of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of water to a simmer, keep hot over low-med heat

– In one deep pan, melt a little more than a tablespoon of butter and add diced onion, garlic and mushrooms (Zach Morris Time Out: nothing smells better than onion and garlic cooking in melting butter, TIME IN).

– After onions have softened, add one cup Arborio rice, cover in the butter, garlic, mushrooms and onions, cook for 3-5 minutes

– Next, add 1/4 cup of dry white wine to rice, cook until fully absorbed

– After rice has absorbed the wine, ladle 1-2 spoonfuls of chicken broth to rice and cook until fully absorbed — continue doing this until all of the chicken broth has been used **be sure to be constantly stirring the risotto**

– After all the rice has absorbed the chicken broth, add peas

– After adding peas, add 2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp of Mascarpone cheese

– Add salt and red pepper to taste

This process might take up to 40 minutes, but I promise you, it’s worth it!  The risotto should looks creamy and velvety.  Also, if you don’t like spicy foods, change red pepper to regular pepper.  Quite simple!  I hope you enjoy this lovely fall/winter dish.  I am going to be making butternut squash risotto as a Thanksgiving side dish, so I will be SURE to let you know how that goes.  In the meantime, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Making what your papa gave ya**

 

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Smorgasbord

August 20, 2009 at 10:49 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Well since my last post on Saturday, a smattering of things relevant to this blog have happened (hence the post title.)  Tuesday I made a delicious, EASY and cheap dish that yields plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.  It’s a dish that my mom used to make all the time, bow tie pasta with spicy Italian sausage.  I like my food with spice, you can obviously use whatever heat sausage you’d like.  Hell use Turkey sausage if you so please, that also works in this dish.  Now none of this is homemade, although one day when I have time I’ll include a recipe for homemade Vodka Sauce, but its something I wanted to include for those cooking on a budget (because honestly, who isn’t these days.)  In total this meal will run less than $10 and will make enough for a week’s worth of pasta.

This is so simple, all you need is a 16 oz roll of Hot Jimmy Dean Sausage ($3.99), a 16 oz box of Farfalle bow tie pasta which you can find for $1-2, and a bottle of Classico Vodka Sauce which usually runs about $3-4.

– In a frying pan, cook the sausage through while breaking down with a fork.

– While sausage is cooking, boil water, cook pasta

– When the sausage is done, drain the grease by putting a paper towel over the plate you will put the sausage on, dab the top with another towel

– When the pasta is done and drained, place it back into the bowl, keep stove on low, pour vodka sauce on top let the sauce heat up as you mix it over the pasta

– Lastly, add the sausage, mix it in with the pasta and sauce and, voila! You’re done!

It’s that simple.

Now, because this WOULD happen to me, after I made a week’s worth of lunch or dinner with this dish, my schedule completely filled up with business lunches and dinners with friends to catch up before my vacation next week.  In DC, August is the time of year to do these things.  Congress is out, it’s too damn hot for tourists, and everyone takes their vacation, so it’s a great time to take advantage of the usually busy restaurants in the city.  This is exactly what 3 of my colleagues and myself did yesterday.  We decided our lunch would be at Kinkead’s, An American Bistro.

This restaurant is right in the Foggy Bottom Shopping Center on the GWU Campus (my grad school Alma mater!)  It’s an American bistro with a heavy seafood influence (twist my arm.)  Now, I had been running late from being called into a senior staff meeting, which is weird because I’m no where near senior level management…anyways!  I showed up desperately looking for a strong drink to calm my nerves, and settled with the Red Zin they serve by the glass.  I was so frazzled I didn’t even ask what it was, but it was quite delicious.  My colleagues all went with the crabcakes which they said were phenomenal and I went with the Cashew and Coconut crusted Cod with Brazilian Style Chile Coconut Milk Sauce with Shrimp, Yucca, Lime and Cilantro, it was as amazing as it sounds.  I would definitely recommend Kinkead’s although I still think the Oceanaire has some of the best seafood in the city.

Since I had some catching up to do at dinner time as well, my friend and I decided to FINALLY try the Good Stuff Eatery on 3rd and Penn, SE.  For those of you who watch Top Chef, this is the burger and salad joint Spike from Season 4 opened.  Now from what I had heard, the burgers are good, not quite as good as Five Guys, but what keeps you coming back there instead of Five Guys are the milkshakes.  I wholeheartedly agree.  The burgers were so good, I went with the Good Stuff Melt that had Muenster and Cheddar cheese, sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions with the Good Stuff sauce and a plain vanilla milkshake.  My friend went with the Coletti’s Smokehouse which has applewood bacon,sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings with
Chipotle BBQ sauce and a Toasted Marshmallow shake, their number one seller.  The milkshakes were the best we’ve ever had.  Hands down, if you’re ever craving a milkshake, go to Good Stuff.  They’re also known for the Milky Way shake… that one’s next on the list!

This trip was fitting as last night was the premier of Top Chef Season 6 which takes place is Las Vegas!!!  Now, it’s as just a shock to me as it was my mother that I LOVE Las Vegas and hosting a show like Top Chef there is a great idea.  It’s a hot spot for foodies and celebrity chefs.  Without getting into a complete synopsis of the show, they’re already throwing out more twists and turns than ever.  Fitting in Sin City.  The first quickfire challenge was a relay challenge and I love those.  Watching Preeti (who I honeslty could not tell if she was a guy or a girl for the first 10 minutes) try to shuck clams was embarassing.  Seriously, how did you make it on this show.

The winning relay team then had to challenge each other with a dish that included the food that was their leg of the relay.  Girl from Philthadelphia won. Ugh.  Anyways, the elimination challenge was great, they had to base a dish over a vice of theirs.  Some chefs got very creative, especially the winner, Kevin whose dish was based on his procrastination.  He switched the food that was supposed to be slow cooked to fast, and the fast cooking food to slow.  He wowed the judges and I wanted to scratch his beard and make him do a little Leprachaun dance.  While Kevin’s dish was awesome and I really do enjoy watching him, I’m totally rooting for Michael Isabella!

Michael Isabella1

Yeap! That’s my guy.  And you wanna know why?!  He’s the Head Chef of Zaytinya, one of my top 5 favorite restaurants in Washington, DC.  It’s one of Jose Andres’ 5 restaurants in the area and is a Lebanese and Mediterranean Tapas place.  My best friend and I go there all the time to sit outside, enjoy a bottle of Cypriot wine, eat pita bread (and other delectable dishes) and play “who has the better deal.”  Yes, each couple that walks by, we say, out loud, which of the two is getting the better deal.  Try it sometime. Oh, and there can be a draw, but there seldom is.  Anywho!  Michael did really well the first episode, I think he can make it pretty far.  He does have to step it up a little bit if he wants to be a finalist.  Whip out that braised lamb with almond pasta, goat cheese, and roasted red peppers.  If the judges find it as orgasmic as I do, he wins.  At the end, Tattoo Neck (yeap you can guarantee they’ll all have nicknames by the end of this season) has to “pack up her knives and go.”

tattooneck

Thank God, I couldn’t even remember what she looked like or what she cooked because I was too busy staring at her tattoo neck and gagging over her peach- sized earring holes…

Alright, now that I’ve written a small dissertation about my week in food, I’ll let you all go.  Until then sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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