Tuesday, July 31, 2007

bulk up those arm muscles

Make some risotto!

Last night I worked on my tank top arms by making Asparagus Risotto. Risotto is one of those dishes that I've made dozens of times, but I am still not entirely sure that I've gotten the technique just right. It seems that in some restaurants, risotto is thick and doesn't run at all, standing up and holding it's shape in the middle of the plate, like the picture above. But I've also had it runnier. I don't actually know which is more authentic. Mine pretty much always comes out thick.

This risotto recipe is another classic from Marcella Hazan. What I love about risotto is that there are seemingly endless possibilities. You take a basic white risotto and you can add anything to it, in this case the only addition is asparagus, blanched and chopped. You throw that into the butter/oil with the onions at the beginning and the rest is exactly the same as any classic risotto. Keep adding stock a bit at a time and stir stir stir until you go from this:

To this:

The flavor, despite having only one additional ingredient, is vastly different from a plain risotto because asparagus has such depth of flavor. It also helps to use the water that you blanched the asparagus in as part of the stock for the risotto.

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