I am very excited to introduce a new column of sorts to my blog: Foodie Friend Friday!
I asked five wonderful friends of mine to each contribute a recipe to my blog. I’m going to post one on each Friday this March, starting this evening (better late than never). I thought it would be a nice way to showcase some of my kitchen-savviest friends’ delicious recipes, as well as diversifying what’s on this blog of mine a bit. I hope you enjoy what they have cooking for us!
Tonight, my sister Annie is sharing her delicious recipe for mushroom and leek risotto, which she made for me a few weeks ago. She also roasted asparagus to serve with the risotto. It was to die for.
Annie and I both share a love for good food and I am so lucky to have her around my kitchen (as well as in my life!). I am very excited to have her kick off this series. Enjoy her recipe and her wisdom — she knows what she’s talking about.
Annie’s Leek and Mushroom Risotto
Before we start, let me tell you a few things about how to cook like a REAL PRO, which I am. (Not really, but CHEF EXTRAORDINAIRE is my middle name. sometimes. Like right now.)
So, you want to know my secrets? Ok. I’ll tell you.
Step one. Practise your “I’m a really hardcore chef” face. It should look something like this, although variations may apply depending on the sort of cuisine you are tackling:
Step two. Pick a theme song. Your theme song can be anything you like, as long as it fits your mood, company, and cooking style. Here are a few really good ones to start you off:
Mamma Said, the Shirelles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQlImg2bm28
Jitterbug, Wham: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIgZ7gMze7A
Postcards from Italy, Beirut: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X61BVv6pLtw&ob=av2n
Step three. Warm up. This is very important. Probably the most important, seeing that we are cooking risotto today. Risotto takes a LOT of wrist endurance, so warm up your arms and hands well. Try a few of these exercises if you want: http://www.wristexercisesblog.com/
And now, you are ready to take on risotto! And you will CONQUER.
Risotto really isn’t as hard as you think it is. It just takes lots of perseverance, wrist strength, and broth. It is also way more fun to cook it with other people, so you can take turns stirring! So grab the nearest friend you have and force them to cook with you! It’ll be GREAT! The basic ingredients for ultimate omnomness are as follows:
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup (or more!) white wine
5 cups of vegetable broth (you may need more/less)
CHEESE, grated (Parmesan is best! Lots of it! Or whatever cheese you want, and as much of it as you want. Probably about half a cup to a cup. Or more. Or less. You decide. It depends on how much you love cheese.)
2 onions or shallots or leeks, chopped
a lot of loooove!
Sooooo the fun things about risotto are that it makes you look SUPER fancy and awesome, and that it’s delicious, and that if you have a good basic recipe you can put WHATEVER YOU WANT in it and it will be different and amazing every time! If you use the above ingredients as your base, improvise using your favourite ingredients to make a personalized delicious treat. In this risotto I put mushrooms (Portobello and button), leeks, peas and sundried tomato pesto. We finished it off with oven-roasted asparagus. IT WAS SO DELECTABLY DELICIOUS THAT MY MOUTH ALMOST HURT.
To recreate this particular risotto you will also need the following ingredients:
2 Portobello mushrooms, chopped into big pieces
lots of crimini/button mushrooms, chopped into big pieces
¾ cup frozen peas
4 tbsp sundried tomato pesto (you can buy it at the grocery store and it is nomz.)
OOOOOOOK so now to start.
1. Turn on your theme song and warm up. It’s time to get into the zone. Pour yourself and cooking partners a glass of white wine.
2. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a pot and add the wine. Keep over low heat and get your ladle ready.
3. In a big pot, sauté the onions and/or leeks and/or shallots in olive oil over medium heat until translucent.
4. Get your stirring muscles ready! You will be using them from now until the risotto is cooked… in approximately 45 minutes.
5. Add the rice to the pot and stir for 30 seconds to a minute. Turn the heat down to medium/low and add a ladle of broth. Keep stirring! Always! If you stop, bad things will happen. Stir the rice until the broth has been absorbed, then add another. This is the basic pattern for risotto… keep adding broth and stirring and it will slowly turn into a mouth-watering beauty of a dish.
6. About 25 minutes into this stir-and-add-broth shindig, add the mushrooms in.
7. Keep adding broth and stirring. If you run out of broth and the rice isn’t fully cooked yet, make more broth. And add more wine.
8. When the rice is ALMOST cooked (a little crunchy but almost there), add the peas in. keep doing the taste test (my favourite test!) until the rice is soft and the texture is creamy and everything is awesome.
9. When everything is awesome, add the sundried tomato pesto and parmesan cheese in and make it even MORE awesome! Stir it up until it is beautiful and incredible. Take it off the heat, and NOMZ UNTIL YOU CAN NOMZ NO MORE!
This is even tastier with oven-roasted asparagus on top! NOMZZZZZZZZZ
So….. yep. I hope you’ve learned a lot about how to be a knockout virtuoso in the kitchen. Flaunt it, baby, flaunt it!
– Annie (the cooler TB sister)