September 09, 2003

Winter Menu

Sandwiched in-between two weeks of hot weather (in the 90s, which it was last week and which it promises to be again by the end of this one) we had a chilly (sort of) weekend. Chilly enough that I didn't want the grill, didn't want the BBQ.

So I made Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs over a bed of Saffron Risotto. I reduced the cooking liquid from the braise into a syrup and spooned it over the ribs, which I placed one each on top of a mound of the risotto in a pair of huge bowls. One tiny spring of lemon thyme on top. Carol wasn't cold anymore.

Risotto isn't hard to make and too many people get too bent out of shape over it. Here's my master plan:
1) Melt some butter in a heavy saucepan. If you have onion, shallots, garlic or other flavorings that need cooking before hand, cook them in the butter

2) Add arborio rice. Stir to coat.

3) Add stock to rice, just to cover. Ideally you'll end up needing twice as much stock by volume as rice.

4) Reduce to simmer. Keep at a low simmer, add stock as needed to just barely keep the rice covered.

5) Rice takes twenty minutes to cook. Set a timer. You can start checking at 15 minutes, and the cooking time can vary anyplace from 15-25 minutes.

6) Add stock as needed, stir frequently. Ran out of stock? Use water.

7) When done add cheese and/or butter to finish the dish. If after the addition it is not runny to your liking, add additional stock or water to adjust it.

8) Serve and eat right away. The risotto should be the last thing you make before service.

Posted by dowdy at September 9, 2003 06:57 AM