Wednesday, March 11, 2009
There's such a thing as too many choices. Sometimes I don't mind--like the chance to have my decaf Dunkin Donuts with a shot of vanilla, light, 1 sugar---which they only get right about 25% of the time. But that's the price you pay for having so many options.
When I'm cooking for company, I'm happy to oblige those who are vegetarians or allergic to shellfish, but sometimes I feel put upon--like the night last week when I made risotto 2 ways (one for the vegetarians who didn't like onions or chicken broth and another for the carnivores with onions and chicken broth). All was fine until the dear someone I married wanted to know if I made it the way he wanted--with vegetable broth and onions. Oddio! As my Italian grandmother would say. What do I look like? A short-order cook? In the end, though, everyone was happy and the recipe came out just right. So now, I'll pass it along to you in 2 forms--one for vegetarians and the other for carnivores.
(Serves 6-8 as a side dish)
1.5 cups of arborio rice
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb. of mushrooms (I used a mixture of mini portobellos and white)
1-2 clove(s) garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 cup white wine or more to taste. (A dry pinot grigio or chardonnay works well.)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup shredded parmegiana cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute the mushrooms, onions and garlic in the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.
2. When the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are browned, add the uncooked rice. Stir for 2 minutes until it's lightly browned and coated with the oil. Turn down the temperature to medium-low.
3. Add the broth one cup at a time and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding and stirring while the rice cooks. If the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, lower the temperature some more, add more liquid and stir again.
4. Taste the rice as it cooks. When about 15 minutes have passed and it begins to soften, add the white wine. Continue tasting and stirring until the rice is soft and becomes creamy, somewhere around 20 minutes. At that point, take it off the heat and stir in about 1/4 cup of shredded parmegiana cheese.
Serving suggestions for the carnivores: Pair this with a salad, Italian bread, and chicken piccata. For the vegetarians...just omit the chicken. In any case, enjoy!