Risotto is a traditional dish made with a suitable variety of rice such as arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.When risotto is cooked, the rice is first cooked briefly in butter or olive oil until evenly coated and the rice starts to turn translucent, before broth is added, one ladle at a time. There are other similar dishes, but they should not be called “risotto” if the rice is not toasted.(wiki)
Risotto is a very simple and nutritious dish which, at the same time is easy to prepare. There are different types of risotto, but they all require four basic ingredients…sauteed vegetables (vegetables and onion sauteed in butter in the same pan that the rice will be cooked); broth(beef, chicken, vegetable, fish etc, which forms the basis of a good risotto); flavouring ingredients(anything from vegetables to saffron, meat, seafood, truffle or wine); and Italian rice(being rich in starch, they can absorb considerable amounts of cooking liquid without losing their firmness).Towards the end, butter and cheese(usually parmigiano) are added to complete the dish.
Risotto is one dish which we really love and relish…My love affair with risotto began relatively recently…around a couple of years back…since then, we’ve become absolutely hooked. I love the feel and the creamy texture of it.
A few posts earlier, I had mentioned about the great deal of soaked chickpeas at my disposal. After using it in a meal, I was still left with some to dispose. I also had this great pack of mixed rice( red, brown and black) …
…which I had picked up from the supermarket,like so many other things, just for their sheer beauty and to add to my already bursting- at- the- seams pantry! I was planning to make a risotto, but having no Italian rice at my disposal, decided to make it with the afore-mentioned rice mix. The result was quite good …the rice was firm to the bite and requires one to really slow down and relish it.
I was a bit apprehensive at first regarding the flavours in this dish…for one, the rice is different; secondly, I had never made a spicy risotto before and was not quite sure how everything would go…but to my pleasant surprise and obvious relief, the flavours integrated beautifully…creamy with the hint of spices and nice firm rice grains, which requires one to really slow down and relish every bite. Along with some fresh salad, it was a nice, complete one-pot meal. So here’s how I did it…
3 -4 handfuls of chickpeas, soaked for 6-8 hours or overnight
1 glass of three rice mix (red, brown and black)
1 onion, sliced
2-3 pods of garlic, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 pods of cardamom
2” stick of cinnamon
1 whole red chilli
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder(or more if desired)
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 tblsp butter
75 gms of cheddar cheese(or parmigiano), grated
salt to taste
- Boil the chickpeas in 6-7 glasses of salty water along with 1 bay leaf and the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves till the chickpeas are done three- fourths of the way.
- Skim the foam that collects on the top as the chickpeas are being boiled.
- Strain the chickpeas and save the stock.
- Discard the bay leaf and other whole spices.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan.
- Add the other bay leaf, whole red chilli and the cumin seeds.
- When the seeds splutter, add the garlic and onion and fry till the onions soften.
- Add the chopped tomato along with the garam masala and chilli powder and fry for a minute.
- Add the chickpeas and rice and fry for 2-3 minutes till they are nicely coated in the spices.
- Pour half of the stock, cover, and cook over low heat till all of the liquid is dissolved.
- Gradually, add ladlefuls of the stock and cook till the rice is done, and is al dente(firm to th e bite).
- Add th ebutter and stir for a few seconds.
- Add the cheese, and stir for a minute.
- Check the seasoning…it should be enough as the stock is salty, but add more if desired.
- Remove from heat and keep covered for 2 minutes, so that all the flavours are infused.
- Serve hot on it’s own or with some fresh salad(as we did).
The dish retained the creaminess of a risotto, and with that subtle hint of spices, was really lovely…we enjoyed it enough to send it over to grace Sharmi’s blog who is hosting JFI(Rice), and event originated by Indira of Mahanandi.