Risotta Milanese

When I first started my blog, I told you to watch the movie "Big Night."  Did you?  Well, you still should.  See it again, even!

There's a funny part toward the beginning where a woman orders the seafood risotto.  Now, risotto takes about 30 minutes to make, start to finish, but requires constant stirring by the cook.  It finally arrives at the woman's table and she looks at it and picks through it and in a very disgusted, rude, New York-y sort of way, wonders where the seafood is, and does it come with a side of spaghetti.

It's a hoot.  Especially when the chef gets irate and refers to her as a "philistine" for not knowing that risotto is a starch and you don't get a side of spaghetti with it.  Duh.  He even glares at her from the kitchen.  Good stuff.

So here's risotto!  It's rice.  Isn't that simple?  Arborio Rice, usually imported from Italy.  Don't panic, it's not expensive!  And every grocery store around probably carries it, so look for it near the rice, or possibly the pasta.

Yes, it does take 30 minutes of stirring.  Which I why I plan to make it on a night when the meat is in the crock pot, or on the grilled (man-tended, please) or just needs reheating.  That way, you can cue up a good play list, pour a glass of something nice, and stand at the stove and stir.  Then again, there's delegation.  My 8 year old daughter took a few turns and did just fine.

It really is a beautiful thing, as the more liquid you gradually add, the more creamy and luscious the whole dish gets.  You will be so glad you made this!

The recipe below serves 4, so I doubled it.  A few 'philistines' here turned up their noses, so there's enough for Eric to have with his lunch tomorrow, and I plan on topping my portion with a fried egg in the morning.

Risotto Milanese

2 cups chicken broth, heated and kept near a simmer in a pan on the stove
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons minced shallots (or onion)
1 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 pinch saffron (I used a pinch of turmeric, it's only for the pretty yellow color)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste

In a large skillet, on medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the shallots (onions) and stir, cooking until just translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until it is completely coated in the butter.  Add the wine and the saffron (turmeric) and cook, stirring gently until the wine is completely absorbed.  Now, 1/2 cup or so at a time, add the broth to the rice, stirring until it is completely absorbed by the rice before adding the next round.  You will use all of the broth eventually, but please be patient and take your time!  At the end of all the additions, the rice should be VERY creamy and just al dente (a bit of tooth in the middle and soft on the outside of the grain).  IF you've used all the broth and the rice is still too firm, do 1/2 cup water addition and stir as before until absorbed.

Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and add salt to taste.

Do not serve with a side of spaghetti.

But is lovely with a grinding of black pepper before serving :)

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