Monday, December 14, 2009


My in laws were coming through town a couple of days ago, they were on their way from the U.P. of Michigan to Arizona where their other daughter lives. Like so many people that live in the tundra areas of the US (where there only seems to be about 3 hours of sunlight each day) they travel during the dark months. Having a child in Arizona (high temp 70 degrees today) works well for them. Having us in Chicago is at least on the way, they said they were coming to visit with us for a couple of hours and I wanted to make dinner. I like to make a good meal for guests. Personally, I think they were coming to make sure that we were keeping the bathroom clean enough to meet their standards. After their last visit they "joked" that if they ever found the bathroom, the one that my father in law completely re finished for us on their last visit, to be a mess they were going to repo the sink. It seemed like a joke, but Kris and I both have our doubts...

I have to admit that I have always been a little afraid to make Risotto... I know such a classic dish but I have never made it. Every time that someone I know has made Risotto they come from the kitchen telling tales that almost compare cooking Arborio Rice to killing a wild boar with the same wooden spoon. Turns out it is not hard at all, there are a few steps but really all you need to do is be near the stove for about 25 minutes.

Here it goes:
4 cups Chicken Broth

1 cup Water

1 pound of Asparagus trimmed then cut into 1 1/2 pieces

1 tsp Olive Oil

3 TBS Butter

10 oz package of Portobello mushrooms stems removed and sliced

1 small Onion chopped

2 cloves of Garlic minced

1 1/2 cup Arborio Rice
1 cup of White Wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
Parmesan Cheese

Bring Broth and water to a boil, add asparagus and cook until crisp (3 minutes or so) then transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Keep the broth over low heat so it stays hot.

Put the Olive oil and one TBL of butter into
a 4 quart saucepan and heat, add the sliced mushrooms and saute until done, set them aside in a bowl.

In the same sauce pan melt the remaining 2 TBL Butter then add the Onions and Garlic saute until soft (3-4 minutes) then add the Rice cook until it is all hot (maybe a minute or two) then add the white wine and cook until absorbed, this part goes pretty quickly.
After the wine is absorbed start adding the broth first a cup at a time then in 1/2 cup increments stirring frequently and allowing each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next. Keep adding until rice looks smooth and creamy about 20 minutes. There should be some leftover broth, save that in case you need that to thin it a little when it is time to serve.

Remove from heat add Asparagus, Mushrooms salt and pepper (to taste) 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and mix together then put into your serving dish. If it is a little stiff add some broth to thin. Garnish with a little more Parmesan Cheese and serve. I served this with Grilled Pork Tenderloin (post to follow). Actually this was really easy dish, do not be afraid, and the results are great!

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