SAFFRON RISOTTO WITH FENNEL AND LEEKS

THE MYTH ABOUT RISOTTO IS THAT YOU HAVE TO STAND AT THE STOVE AND STIR IT CONSTANTLY FOR 45 MINUTES, ADDING HALF A CUP OF BROTH AT A TIME.  THIS IS, IN FACT, A MYTH.  HOW DO YOU THINK RESTAURANTS MANAGE TO SERVE YOU RISOTTO IN 15 MINUTES?  THEY PARTIALLY COOK THE RISOTTO IN ADVANCE AND FINISH IT AS EACH ORDER COMES IN.  LIKEWISE, YOU CAN SWEAT YOUR ONIONS, LEEKS, FENNEL, ETC., ADD THE RICE, WINE AND A FEW CUPS OF STOCK, THEN TURN IT OFF AND COVER.  WHEN IT’S TIME TO SERVE, RE-HEAT THE RISOTTO, ADDING THE REMAINING LIQUID HALF A CUP AT A TIME.  FOR THIS PARTICULAR ITERATION, YOU SWEAT THE FENNEL AND LEEKS, REMOVING HALF THE MIXTURE TO ADD AT THE LAST MINUTE FOR A NICE CRUNCH TO OFFSET THE SEDUCTIVE SOUPINESS OF THE RICE.  IF YOU WISH TO SERVE THIS RISOTTO ON IT’S OWN, STIR IN SOME PAREMESAN CHEESE AT THE END AND A NICE HUNK OF BUTTER.
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