Alicia is so pleased to bring you her SECOND post on this blog. Drew noticed that our blog got the most views when Alicia writes, so he told her to write something more!
Before leaving home for my young-adult life, I made sure my mom, who happens to be Italian-American, taught me how to make risotto. Why, you ask? There is no comparison to great risotto. It is simply divine and words do not do it justice. It is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Since moving to Italy, I have noticed that making risotto is a great way to have “Italian Night” here at home without the 60-80 euro price-tag associated with going out to eat. Of course, the real/best reason for risotto night, which can sometimes happen once a week here, is that Porcini Risotto is one of Drew’s favorite dishes.
If I had to make a slogan for Italian food, it might be, “Simple, seasonal and fresh. Because you’re worth it.” The thing is, Italians don’t mind spending 2 hours at least to prepare something from scratch each day. Their later dinner hour (8pm) allows them to do this even on working days. They take time to make good, REAL food, instead of the processed garbage that seems to be the norm in America whenever I go back there. And aren’t you worth it? Your body deserves to be nourished, your tongue deserves to actually taste something delicious, and your family and friends deserve a couple hours of your company every so often. I’m not saying EVERY night should be risotto night, but I am saying that the beauty of a great meal can be prepared at home with FRESH, REAL ingredients!
A word of warning: If I had to make a slogan for RISOTTO, it would be, “Babysitting the pan WILL be worth it… Eventually…” This is because in order to make risotto, the rice and vegetables must be moved around the pan with chicken broth 1 ladle-full at a time as it slowly absorbs the moisture. This slow-moving process of adding a ladle-full, while stirring the rice constantly creates a rich, creamy texture that is an experience close to heaven. So if you choose to follow the directions below, you will unfortunately need to stand in front of the stove for at least 45 minutes, but it will be time well-spent. Of course, it always seems to take less time when my Mom cooks it, so I guess Christina Pashby holds some kind of secret in her inner-cook.
Here is our photo journal of how this perfect dish is made. I would like to add that most Italians do not cook risotto in a wok, but since my parents came to Italy for Christmas, my mom recommended that I use the wok. Drew and I were married in July and were glad to have received this wok from my long-time friend, Allison Glenn. And I have to say that, yes, Chris Pashby was right. (Since we don’t have a large stock-pot) The wok IS the best way to go in this household.
We hope you will enjoy and be able to create your very own risotto too!