Al Dente: Saffron Risotto, Hold The Risotto

Hi everyone and welcome to Risotto City! Population…US!

And Risotto. Obviously. Otherwise why would it be called Risotto City? And by extending that logic you’d have to conclude that not everyone in Giggleswick laughs all the time and Blubberhouses is not a time lost and landlocked 19th Century whaling village.

 

SHUT UP.

 

LET ME HAVE THIS.

 

Anyway! This week it’s time for Risotto. We are, as last time, singing from the hymnbook of St Jamie of Comfort Food.

We lug in his name.

And this week it’s his Saffron risotto. Victor! Round up the usual suspects!


So what do we have there? Well we have:

 

-Parmesan

-Butter

-A red onion

-Some paprika

-An exciting looking plastic tub! Mystery ingredient! Which is actually chicken breasts marinated overnight in paprika and roasted garlic olive oil!

-The Gelatinous Excrescence of Marco Pierre White.

-Arborio rice. I like to think Arborio was Mario and Luigi’s older brother who just did not want any of their crap. ‘It’s a me, Arborio! Whaddaya doing with the pipes and the jumping and the little dinosaur guy?!C’mon!’

-And a bottle of 2 buck chuck/Cooking Booze/AlcoDelish/Delete as applicable

 

Now, full disclosure kids, you may notice a remarkable lack of Saffron in there. That’s because I didn’t have any and didn’t really fancy dropping twenty quid on some admittedly swish seasoning that would, fundamentally, make my food taste of yellow. I chose not to do this also because I wanted to prove that any given receipe is adaptable. Or, to put it another way;

No cookbook survives contact with the enemy. Or, in this case, the cook.

So what do we first? Easy, take that onion and chop it. I have two techniques here. The first was the knife frenzy I mentioned last week. The second is;

-Top and tail it.

-Make an incision running North to South instead of the equator.

-Possibly yell something about ‘Puny Onionoids! Galactus requires ingredients!’

-Chop in half.

-Chop east to west.

-Chop north to south.

-Yell ‘IT WON’T HOLD! SHE’S BREAKING UP!’ as you get to the end.

-Berserker chop panic

Basically make it as small as possible and then put it in the pan with what St Jamie describes as a knob of butter but I prefer to think of as a scoop. Put it on low heat and take a blurred photo.

See? Then stir it every minute or so on a low heat.

Next, weigh the rice.

Now. There’s an important thing to remember here. Jamie Oliver cooks for 18,000 people at a time. Seriously, the guy’s recipes are all listed for 4-6 or 10-15 but they may as well say ‘Peel’ , ‘Most of Beeston’ or ‘A good chunk of the suburb of Milton Keynes I now live in’. It’s RIDICULOUS. I cut the ingredients for this thing (Aside from the food-o-plonk) by TWO THIRDS and there were still four freaking servings.

So, with that in mind, next up weight the amount of It’s a me! Arborio! You want. I went with 150 g, but the recipe (For 8-the last 10 generations of a family), recommended 450 g.

Next up, put Marco Pierre White’s latest squamous excrescence in 400ml of boiling water and try not to hear it squeal as it melts.

Next, mushrooms. That weren’t in the class photo. Because mushrooms are assholes. Not as big a bunch of assholes as brown rice but they are, nonetheless, assholes.

Also I left them in the fridge.

Remove your mushrooms, chop them in half if they’re little (Or quarters if they’re big) and drop them in the pan. Remember that? Yeah, by now those onions should be nice and squishy so you dump your mushrooms in there and cook them down. Then, add the 200ml or so of Collapso Food Plonk Vin Blanc and then, after about 5 minutes, drop the rice into the pan.

Now, this freaked me out a little bit because technically you’re frying the rice and whilst that’s awesome, it’s a weird disconnect for me. Fried rice without delicious fried chicken boulders? What brave new world is this that has such food in’t?

Yep. Shakespeare AND Gelatinous cube jokes. I spoil you people. But you’re WORTH it.

Anyway, bung the rice in the pan and add about a quarter of the stock. Stir it round, which gets really exciting with a small pan and turn the heat up a bit.

Now, wait. Stirring occasionally.

In fact, now is an EXCELLENT time to make a tea or coffee. Stir occasionally, boil the kettle, maybe go for a biscuit? I favour Hovis digestives right now but you’re people of taste and breeding, you’ve got this.

So, drink your beverage, consume your biscwits (One day the Fox’s Mafia Panda will team up with that Willem Dafoe voiced frozen food polar bear and we will be DOOMED) and stir and after a while you’ll notice the Squash still isn’t done.

Where was I?

Oh yes! Add some more stock, stir and wait for it be absorbed, keep doing this until you’re out of stock. Don’t let the pan run entirely dry because then you will have created a pancake made of rice, charcoal and failure but do let the liquid be absorbed before putting more in. If nothing else because it’s really boring waiting for a huge chunk of liquid to get shlooped up by the rice. And it will ALL go, believe me.

Whilst the second gloop of stock is being shlooped into position (Technical language! I can spell BOTH those words!), remove the chicken and chop it into strips. Then, being careful to wash your board and any surface the raw chicken came into contact with straight away, drop the chicken in the risotto. Keep adding the stock, keep stirring and the chicken will cook in place.

(An aside: My fiancé, who is as much of a culinary badass as she is everything else, recommends cooking the chicken separately and adding it on top. I back that, as that way it gets a little crunch)


Once you’re down to the last bit of stock, take the pan off the heat and add it. Then, immediately put a lid on the pan and leave it for a few minutes, shaving a little parmesan on and stirring it in. Also, salt and pepper the HELL out of that thing. Seasoning is a game of chicken

HA!

HA!

No really it is. Be bloody bold and resolute. Add some damn salt.

This will give the last bit of stock time to absorb and the cooling pan will mean that the risotto gets a nice thick texture to it.

See? The deliciousness. IT BURNS.

Finally, shave a little parmesan on top and take a photo next to the dish it sort of still is!

What I learned

-Saffron is surprisingly expensive

-Risotto is surprisingly fun to make.

-Marco Pierre White excretes a lot of chicken…goo.

-I don’t season Risotto enough.

 

Next time! More food! See you then!

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