Tuesday, September 28, 2010

sublime recipe: risotto so good you'll cry



I lifted the fork to my mouth and closed my eyes. It was creamy and hot and I wondered how I've lived a lifetime without this taste--this perfect golden, happy, sunshine of a bite.

I opened my eyes, looked around the classroom at Sur la Table and wondered if my classmates would notice if I moved the steaming bowl of Risotto Milanese to my own table and just ate it all myself--slowly with a fork as my the taste neurons in my brain did their own little fireworks performance in my brain. There were other things we prepared in this Classic Italian Cooking class like Pizza Margherita, Lasagne Verdi al Forno, and Tiramisu but The Risotto, good God, the risotto!

One of my closest (funniest/ kindest/ smartest)  friends, Melethia suggested  we take this class last Wednesday and once again, good choice, M.! Chef Joel Gamoran taught us the miracle that is this risotto as well as this entire Italian menu.



I wondered if I had Joel's risotto last year when my life went cockeyed if things wouldn't have seemed so bad if I could have just sat in front of the fire with a big steaming bowl of this heaven.

I saw Joel again this weekend and I told him this dish was the best thing I've ever had and asked if I could post his recipe here and luckily he said yes.

When to make this recipe:
  • It's a cold, rainy evening in the fall and you have a roaring fire and a bottle of Barefoot Chardonnay
  • You want your boyfriend to propose
  • You want to impress your wife /in-laws /roommate  / boss
  • You're sad and you need to be comforted
  • You're happy and you want to celebrate
  • It's Wednesday
What to serve it with:
  • Crusty warm Italian bread
  • Field greens with white balsamic dressing
  • Tiramisu
Recipe
Chef Joel Gamoran's Risotto Milanese
(Risotto in the style of Milan)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3 1/2 cups chicken stock plus 3 cups of water, hot
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
In a 12 to 14 inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Once the onions are translucent add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the saffron into the onion and rice mixture.
Add the wine to the toasting rice, and then add a 4-6 ounce ladle of the hot stock and stir until it is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese until well mixed. Portion into 4 warmed serving plates and sprinkle more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.
note: Saffron is really what gives this dish its unique taste and color. This spice can be found at better grocery stores. When you sprinkle it into the onion / rice mixture rub it between your two fingers as you add it.
You may not need to use all the hot stock/water liquid.
If you're going to make this dish amazing, be sure to use freshly grated Parmigiano.

Chef Joel Gamoran can be found at Sur la Table in Hell's Kitchen in NYC and HumblyNorthwest.com
Enjoy!

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