Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Back to the Kitchen

How's that old saying go? "When the going gets tough, the tough order takeout." Something like that.

If you haven't noticed, I haven't been doing much cooking lately. I'm the first to admit that when schedules get hectic with work and family and friends and - bleh - the gym, cooking often slips off my to-do list. But I'm putting a stop to that this week, and reminding myself that cooking isn't just another item to be checked off, but my time to unwind and engage in an activity that I actually enjoy doing. Take last night - risotto, while definitely not difficult, is not just a phone-it-in type of dish. It is, however, some serious gastro-therapy, and just what I needed to remind myself that a little time in the kitchen is always worth the effort.

Risotto with Mushrooms and Prosciutto
2 tablespoons of butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4-4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, hot
1 cup sauteed mushrooms (recipe here)
3 strips prosciutto, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add the shallot and sweat until the shallot is translucent, about 3 minutes (do not brown). Add the white wine, stir to deglaze the pan, and let the wine cook off til the pan is nearly dry. Add another tablespoon of butter, melt, and then add the arborio rice. Stir thoroughly to coat each grain with butter. Add a cup of hot stock and stir often until the stock has soaked into the rice, about 5 minutes. Repeat this process until the rice is soft and creamy and you've used about 4-4 1/2 cups of stock (it should take 20-25 minutes).

Fold in the grated cheese, then add the mushrooms, prosciutto and salt and pepper to taste.

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