Thursday, March 30, 2006

green bean and herb risotto

3-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
4 tbs olive oil
3 medium shallots, peeled, finely chopped
1 ½ cups Arborio, “superfino” quality
1 cup dry white wine
2 tbs freshly grated parmesan
2 tbs butter
3 tbs Boursin (or mascarpone) cheese
8 green beans, blanched, sliced
1 medium tomato, seeded, diced
2 tsp chopped fresh poultry herbs
1 green onion, thinly sliced
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper

Bring stock to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan; keep hot. In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté shallots until translucent. Add rice and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring to coat grains. Add wine and continue to cook, stirring, until wine is absorbed.

Add ½ cup of stock at a time, bringing each to a simmer and stirring gently and occasionally, waiting until each ½ cup is nearly absorbed before adding more. Be careful not to over stir and risk breaking down the grains. Continue this until risotto has been cooking for about 15 minutes, at which point the grains should be al dente (almost cooked) and moist and creamy.

Gently stir in parmesan, Boursin and chopped herbs. Add butter, beans, tomato and green onion. Stir until heated through. Season to taste.

Notes: Blanching is a method by which vegetables are partially cooked to bring out the flavours and colours. Drop into boiling water for one minute, then transfer to ice water to stop the cooking and set the colours. If not using a home-made stock, look for low-sodium and use unsalted butter to avoid an over-salted risotto. Risotto is excellent served with chicken, fish, red meats and vegetarian dishes, making it a very versatile addition to any cook’s repertoire.

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