Monday, March 10, 2008

Champagne Risotto

I've been flexing my baking wings, so to speak, with the Tuesdays with Dorie group and I thought it was time to try cooking something new. I have always been intrigued (ok not always, really just since that aweful-but-addictive Hell's Kitchen) by risotto and the fear that it is difficult to make (quickly followed by the "oh, but it's really sooooo easy!"). Such things never end up being easy for me, but the arborio rice has been sitting in my cabinet for over a week and is too expensive to let waste away!

So, off I went to the Food Network for some inspiration. It didn't take long before I stumbled across Giada's Champagne Risotto. The (now flat) leftover prosecco in my refrigerator had a new purpose! I was VERY excited to make this, and it did NOT disappoint! It came together surprisingly easy, and I am very impressed that I mananged to not screw it up. It was ridiculously good and I can't wait to make risotto again!!

Champagne Risotto

4 thin slices prosciutto (omitted)
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
12 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces (replaced with about 1/2 cup frozen peas)
2 tablespoons butter,divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup Champagne
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the slices of prosciutto on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto slices are almost completely crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Reserve for garnish.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the chicken stock at a low simmer.

In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp prosciutto into smaller pieces over the top of the risotto. Serve immediately.

Just look at that creamy goodness... :-)

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