Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Risotto Mania!

Written by Patti on January 28th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

I have challenged myself recently to only eat what we have in the house (no shopping til the weekend) so we can see what we really have and to stop waste. We saw how I revamped the fluff-deprived marshmallows into soft taffy as hostess gifts. Last night I thawed the leftover french onion soup we made last week, toasted up the last of the beautiful loaf Lisa bought me at Super H on our last visit together and topped it with mozzarella cheese. Not totally authentic, but it was what we had. And was it ever yummy. I also baked up some of our cookie dough from the weekend so we would have dessert. Tonight it will be chicken pot pie, with chicken mixture leftover from chicken and dumplings last week, topped with a lovely pate brisee from Martha, which will make dinner prep a snap. Thursday is dim sum night, with a ton of dim sum (frozen) that I picked up at Super H on the cheap. Rounding up the week will be pork belly tacos with pork belly found in the freezer (another Super H steal). Saturday is date night and I will tell you about that next week.

Monday night was risotto. I always try and keep arborio rice in the pantry and mushrooms in the fridge. We had one bottle of champagne left from our merry macaron party with Tartlette, so that would sub for the white wine needed in the recipe. We are never out of stock, be it chicken, beef or seafood, in the freezer and the pantry. And risotto is just the coziest meal to share with your sweetie. You know, it would make a great Valentine’s Day dinner. You do know that going out on Valentine’s Day for dinner gets you shortchanged, right? I’m sure that will not endear me to my restaurant-owning friends, but it’s true. There are a million other people around (how romantic is that? Not much.) You hardly ever get to order off the regular menu (as they always have a chef’s “special menu” for you to order from). It’s expensive and let’s face it, ya’ll – it’s cold out there. Why not just pick up the fixings for risotto and a fab little dessert (perhaps picked up from a favorite bakery? Say Sweet N’ Sinful?), splurge with the money you would have spent on the restaurant dinner on a really great bottle of wine (or two) and light some candles at home and cook together? You get to choose your own music, you control how big the wine pours are and if you just can’t wait til you get home….well, guess what….you’re already at home! That sounds perfect to me.

But I will now get off my tiny soapbox and get back to the task at hand…risotto, yes, risotto. Here’s the recipe:

* 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
* 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
* 1 onion, diced, divided
* 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
* 1 pound fresh portobello and crimini mushrooms, sliced
* 2 bay leaves
* 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
* 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
* 2 tablespoons butter
* Salt and pepper
* 1 tablespoon truffle oil
* 1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
* 2 cups Arborio rice
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
* Fresh Italian parsley, for garnish


Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, herbs and butter. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in truffle oil then add the dried porcini mushrooms which were reconstituted in1 cup of warm chicken broth. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.

Coat a saucepan with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Saute the remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute. This step cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking. Stir in wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated.

Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook briefly until melted. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and chopped parsley before serving.

I know this makes 4-6 servings, but I have the perfect way to use up the leftovers – in fact, this is so good I bet you’ll start making up excuses to cook risotto just so you can have this other dish.

Arancini di Riso
Adapted from Giada DeLaurentis

* Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
* 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
* 2 cups Risotto with Mushrooms, cooled
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
* 1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
* 2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* Salt
* Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.
* Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.
* Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot ail and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

These will make someone fall in love with you, I’m pretty sure….

And now, the gallery of risotto….

Risotto and Mushrooms After Adding Wine

Rice and Mushrooms After Adding Wine

Keep Stirring And Adding Stock

Keep Stirring As You Add Stock

Risotto, Ready To Plate

Crispy, Tender, Gooey Inside Arancini.....

I hope you consider cooking for your sweetie this weekend. It will make themĀ  feel loved!

And if you have a bunch of ingredients in your house, but not sure how to put them together, post a comment and I will help you out!

xoxo, Patti


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Lisa Hanson says: