Risotto is a new thing to me. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had plenty of them in restaurants. However, I don’t eat it often because it sends me into a carbohydrate k-hole. This having been said, I certainly don’t make it often at home. I blogged about my first risotto at home back in May – not long ago. I had some trepidation about it then…and this time, I’ll admit it still made me nervous. I was having flashbacks of Gordon Ramsey on Hell’s Kitchen holding the plate of sticky risotto upside down and saying it looked like "a dog’s dinner".
I had to put my fears aside when I found out that risotto was the theme chosen for Hay Hay It’s Donna Day, hosted this time by Cenzina at il cavoletto di bruxelle. It’s a great theme because its such a versatile dish. You can put almost anything in it and its bound to be good.
I did learn a few helpful hints during my last experience with making risotto:
- Three words (or one word broken up into three parts?): mise en place. Seriously. Have all of your ducks in a row before you get started. That way, you’re not scrambling about for ingredients and not stirring.
- One more word: Stir.
- An extra set of hands is helpful but not necessary. This time, I made the dish during a photo shoot with Tony Clark. Not only was he good for ladling my stock into the pan while I stirred…but he was a great taste tester, took a great photo of it, and was there for moral support.
In the end, my risotto turned out like a dream. My recipe includes radicchio, which I adore the taste of. Mixed with a creamy smoked mozzarella, the risotto was a wonderful contrast in flavors and textures. The cheese was divine in the creamy risotto. The radicchio kept some of its integrity even after being wilted in the rice, giving a nice bitter crunch along with the al dente rice.
Risotto with Smoke Mozzarella and Raddichio (recipe found here on foodandwine.com) – serves 6