Jun 27, 2010

Early summer risotto

First, read up on the basics of a decent risotto.  I'm not inclined to repeat myself, so that's what you get for an introduction.  (And seriously, this stuff becomes second nature after awhile; it's not like you have to read a recipe for risotto and do more than skim to see what ingredients are added when.  It's a great dish for experiments.)

This is a side dish, I suppose.  It can work well with anything from salmon to chicken to beef.

Start off the dish as usual: onions, garlic, rice, wine, stock in that order.

Let that go about half way to done; judging that might take some time.

Add about a dozen capers, drained and rinsed, choped finely.

Aside: capers are neat.  Some people have them; they're basically crazy.  What they do is add a floral note to a dish that you basically can't duplicate.  Probably because they are, in fact, flower buds.  Subtle but it adds quite a bit.

Finely chop about half a red bell pepper.  Grate sufficient cheese.

Don't forget to keep stirring and adding liquid.

When the mixture is about 90% done (ie, it's getting noticeably harder to stir), add the red pepper.

Finally, the basil.  Cooked basil loses flavor fast, so this goes in nearly at the end.  If you have fresh, great.  If perhaps you froze some from last year, make sure you give it enough time (and hot liquid and massive amounts of stirring helps here) to defrost.  Chop finely, add that, let that go for another minute or two, then add the cheese, take off the heat, and stir it in.

Works wonderfully.

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