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The Perfect Risotto Recipe for Anniversaries and Apologies

The Perfect Risotto Recipe for Anniversaries and Apologies

It’s a commonly-held belief that everyone should have at least one spectacular recipe down pat so they can demonstrate their culinary prowess at a moment’s notice. Though it’s actually best to have at least ten of these memorized, having the know-how to create one gorgeous dish is absolutely imperative, and might actually be the magic key to getting you out of trouble one day.

Do take note that when I mention the creation of a dish, I’m not talking about warming up something frozen that you’ve bought at the grocery store—that’s not cooking, it’s a travesty waiting to happen. This is a meal that you create from scratch, so if you don’t yet know the difference between chopping and mincing, and think that deglazing is something you only do to windows, it’s best to do a bit of research on the basics first. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds: chopping = cutting something fairly small; mincing = really tiny. That’s it. Oh, and use the sharp end of your knife to do all of this.

Risotto

Chopped Onion and Celery

    That really is a gorgeous word, isn’t it? Roll it off your tongue a couple of times and you’ll see what I mean. It’s an Italian dish made with Arborio rice, which gets fabulously starchy as it cooks so the dish ends up rich and creamy. There are countless variations on flavour profiles that you can create, but this is a basic recipe you can use and build upon as you see fit.

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    What you’ll need:

    6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I like to use onion)
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp butter or margarine
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
    1.5 cups Arborio rice
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    sea salt black pepper
    2 tbsp minced chives
    1 extra tsp of butter or margarine 1/2 cup grated cheese, such as Parmigiano Reggiano 

    Step 1: Heat the Stock

    In a medium-sized pot heat up the stock so that it comes to a light boil, and then turn the heat down to low to keep it hot, but not bubbling.

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    Stirring

      In a separate pot (or large, deep skillet—even a wok will do), heat the olive oil and butter on medium-high heat. When it starts to sizzle, add in the onions, garlic, and celery, and then turn the heat down to medium. You should be able to sautee them at this temperature for a good 10 minutes without them going brown.

      One the vegetables have softened and the onions are translucent, it’s time to add the rice.

      Step 2: Rice 

      Once you’ve added the rice, turn the heat back up to high and stir it around immediately so that it gets a nice, even coating of fat all over it. Keep stirring it constantly, and after a minute or so you’ll notice that it starts to look a bit translucent. This is when you get to deglaze the pan so you lift all the delectable bits that the cooking vegetables have released, and the rice will get to suck the wine up into every single grain.

      *Note: make sure that you never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t serve at your table. The quality of the dish will be far better with a good wine, and you’ll get to sample it liberally as you cook.

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      Step 3: Add the Stock

      When the rice has absorbed the wine, add a ladle of hot stock to the pan along with a pinch of sea salt, and turn the heat down to medium: you want the rice to simmer, but not burn. After that ladle-ful has been absorbed, add another one, constantly stirring that rice with your wooden spoon so you coax the starch out of the grains as they cook. This will take approximately 20 minutes or so, at which point you should taste the rice to see if it’s cooked. The grains should be mostly soft, but very slightly

      al dente, meaning that they’ll be tender, but still offer a bit of resistance when bitten into.Adding Stock

        This is your opportunity to season the dish: does it need more salt? How about some cracked pepper? Stir these in as needed, and then remove the pan from the stove.

        Step 4: Final Adjustments

        It’s in this final step that you get to make the risotto your own. If you want to keep things simple, then just add in that extra dollop of butter or margarine, stir it around, and then let it sit for a couple of minutes so it gets creamy beyond measure. You can add in grated Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago, or Romano cheese at this stage as well, and then garnish it with chives before serving.

        If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you could do a bit of prep work before starting the risotto so you can add extras to it, such as sauteed mushrooms or other vegetables. Some great ideas/combinations to try are:

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        – Mixed fried mushrooms – Broccoli and lemon (you’d add a tbsp of lemon juice during the final step)
        – Asparagus tips – Spinach and feta (omit the parmesan)
        – Sundried tomato and basil

        Risotto

          Mushrooms, broccoli, and asparagus need to be cooked before being added, while spinach and basil can just be chopped or shredded and added in raw in the final step: the heat from the rice will cook them lightly for you. Be sure to serve this with a glass of that wine you cooked with, and consider accompanying the dish with a light salad to cut the richness of it—a light salad of arugula/mixed greens with a lemon vinaigrette would do nicely.

          There you have it! Risotto might be a bit labour-intensive, but it really is worth the effort: once you and your companion take that first bite, you’ll see what I mean.

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          Catherine Winter

          Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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          Last Updated on July 18, 2019

          10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home

          10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home

          Your house is more than just a building that you live in. It should be a home that makes you feel welcome as soon as you open the front door.

          Making your house feel like a home is not something that simply happens on its own. You need to make some changes to a house when you move in, to give it that cozy, warm feeling that turns it into a true home. To help you speed the process, follow this guide to 10 small changes to make your house feel like a home.

          1. Make the Windows Your Own

          When you move into a home, they often come with boring Venetian blinds or less than attractive curtains.

          One of the best ways you can instantly warm your home and make it showcase your style is to add some new window dressing. Adding beautiful curtains not only improves your home’s appearance, but it can also help to control the temperature.

          2. Put up Some Art

          If you have a lot of bare walls in your home, it will seem sterile no matter how beautiful your paint or wallpaper is.

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          Hanging art on the walls will instantly give it personality and make it feel like home.

          3. Improve the Aroma

          A house that is not filled with inviting smells will never feel like a home. There are loads of ways you can make your home smell nice. There are tons of air fresheners on the market you can use.

          Incense and scented candles are a nice option as well. Don’t forget that baking in a home is also a great way to fill it with an aroma that instantly smells like home as soon as you open the front door.

          4. Put out Lots of Pillows and Throws

          A great way to make your home look warm and inviting is to place lots of pillows and throws out on the furniture. It is much better to have too many pillows than not enough.

          There is nothing like the feeling of sinking into a cushiony pillow that feels like a cloud to make you feel like you are at home.

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          5. Instantly Class up Your Closet

          If your closet is filled with wire or plastic hangers, it will never truly feel homey. To instantly make your closet feel classy, change out your old hangers for wooden ones.

          Not only do they look great, but they are better for hanging your clothes as well.

          6. Improve Your Air Quality

          One of the most overlooked ways to make your house feel more like a home is to improve its air quality.

          The easiest and best way to upgrade the air quality in your home is to change the old, dirty filters in your furnace regularly. Get some air filters delivered to your home so that you always have some on hand.

          7. Fill it with Plants

          Another way to improve the air quality in your home is to fill it with plants. You should have plants in every room of your home.

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          They help to improve the air quality and they look beautiful. As well as making your home appear homier, plants also help to boost your mood and lower your stress levels.

          8. Change the Doorknobs

          Most people don’t really give their doorknobs a second thought unless they are broken. That is a shame because changing your doorknobs is an easy way to add personality to your home.

          Changing your old, boring doorknobs to new ones that are works of art will instantly brighten your home.

          9. Upgrade Your Tub or Shower

          There is nothing like luxuriating in a whirlpool bath or steam shower to make the cares of the day melt away. Your family deserves a bit of luxury when they are in their bathroom.

          Install a new shower or tub today to make your bathroom worthy of a place in your home.

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          10. Fresh Cut Flowers

          You can make any room in your house feel homier by placing a vase full of beautiful flowers in it. The gorgeous look and intoxicating aroma of fresh cut flowers will immediately brighten your day when you encounter them.

          You don’t have to make all these changes at once. Try one or two a day though, and your house will feel like a home before you know it. The trick is to constantly keep adding these homey touches to make your home a place worthy of its name.

          Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-wooden-round-analog-wall-clock-on-brown-wooden-wall-121537/ via unsplash.com

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