Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tuesday, April 7th - Asparagus and Shitake Mushroom Risotto

I had a work breakfast. Though I will normally go to great lengths for a good muffin, a 7am commute is not one of them. Not even a free one. Brutal. The work muffins are a bit dodgy anyway. I find that alot of the 'low-fat', oat muffins out there tend to taste like playdough. Yes. I am a child of that era. I once ate playdough. I believe that it's the combination of cheap flour and oil mixed in the wrong order that results in the foul taste. You really need to mix the 'wets' well first so that the eggs and fats emulsify before adding the flour. Now, this is all just theory and not validated. It is based on the fact that homemade playdough, for real, is flour, water and oil. I ate the muffin lid and left the stump. I do this fairly frequently with free work muffins. Weird thing is, the stumps are often gone off the tray at the end of the meeting. I must meet this individual who's predeliction is for muffin stumps. We could be soul mates.

Lunch was at my desk. A sad meeting leftover cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese which I ate whilst on a conference call. I didn't even have the luxury of a plastic knife. I had only grabbed the cream cheese and a few packs of Splenda as I left the breakfast meeting that I neglected to snag some utensils. I had to resort to tearing bits of bagel and dipping them in the cream cheese single as I tried to participate on the call.

D is cooking tonight. He is making us a Risotto mmmm.

Asparagus and Shitake Mushroom Risotto

1.5 l veggie stock or chicken broth
1 c arborio rice
1 shallot minced
1 clove garlic (I've been informed by the resident chef that there is no garlic in this recipe)
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and chopped
5-6 fresh shitake mushrooms
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a small pot, bring the broth to a boil and then turn down to the lowest setting and keep warm all through cooking. You don't want to bring down the temperature of the risotto as you add the liquid.

In a large pan, add some butter and olive oil. Brush the mushrooms, trim and slice. Fry until browned and set aside on a plate. I normally use that plate with all the veggie or mushroomy goodness. Who needs a spoon rest really? Repeat with the aspargus. You could do them together if you want to.

In the same pan, add more butter and oil. Fry the shallot until soft and add the garlic and rice. Stir until all the rice is glossy and coated. Add more oil if you have to. Add 1/2 c of white wine. Do not use any wine you wouldn't drink.

Add a ladel (1/4 c) of broth to the rice and stir. Risotto is a labour of love like baking your own bread. There is nothing fast or convenient about it. The only 'easy' method I've seen is a Gary Rhodes, that is similar to a pilaf where he does everything up to here and then spoons it all into a casserole dish adds all the liquid and covers it with parchment and bakes it in the oven. I've never tried that. I don't know how you'd get the creaminess that way. So just as it looks as if all the liquid is absorbed, add another ladel and stir. This will take about 30 minutes. Add more liquid if you want. The only and best way to know if you've reached doneness is tasting it. When you're about there, add the veg back.

At the end, add the final ladel of stock a pat of butter, cover and set aside for a few minutes. Grate 1/2 c of fresh parmesan on and mix.

Serve with freshly greated parmesan. At the table add truffle oil if you have it.

MMMMM wine is to be decided and photos to come.

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