Thursday, August 25, 2011

Risotto = Red Beet + Amarone + Arugula

"I like to serve this risotto with a simple seared lamb loin. " - Corey
what you need:
Yellow Onion
Beet, raw, diced, 1/2 cup
Amarone, 1/2 cup
Beet puree, 1/2 cup (simply cook the beets in water until tender, drain, puree)
Arugula, 2 cups
Balsamic Vinegar, 1/4 cup
Mustard Seed, 1 Tbs.
Manchego Cheese, to taste for garnish
Olive Oil, 1 fl. oz.
Carnaroli Rice, 1 lb.
White Wine, 2 fl. oz.
Chicken Stock, 1 1/4 quarts
Unsalted Butter, cubed, as needed
Parmesan, freshly grated, 1/4 cup
Lemon Zest, to finish, from 1 lemon
how you make it: 
1. In a large pot, heat the oil over a low flame. Add the onions and sweat them until they are translucent (no brown).
2. Add the mustard seeds and toast lightly.
3. Add the Carnaroli rice and toast lightly (no color). Then add the Amarone wine and cook until dry.

4. Add the diced beet and 1/2 of the beet puree.
5. Add three cups of the chicken stock and the balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring a few times. (No need to stir constantly here. Simply shake the pan back and fourth and scrape the bottom once in a while.)
6. When the stock is absorbed, add more and cook until it is fully absorbed again. Only add stock when the previous addition has been fully absorbed. You do not need to follow the method of adding the stock in thirds. Keep adding until the risotto is at the right consistency. It should be cooked but not mushy, and a little al dente.
7. Add the rest of the beet puree and stir.
8. Add the butter and the parmesan and stir to combine.
9. Add the arugula and wilt lightly.
10. Serve finished with Manchego cheese and lemon zest.

note from brian/winemaker: 
"Most Amarones carry a high price, but there are some good values out there if you look hard enough. I suggest Cantina Amarone de Valpolicella, unless your willing to splurge a little and go with one of the classics, Allegrini Amarone Classico - still a good value for the quality of this wine but priced around $75."

note from corey : "the myth of the figure eight move" 

When learning to cook, it is important to remember the nature of the ingredients you are working with, and how they react to heat and manipulation. Different varieties of rice have differing levels of starch and nutrition. Rice grains contain two different types of starch: amylose and amylopectin. Understanding the difference between these two can be difficult, but what you need to know is that long grain rice has the most amylose, which is less sticky, and medium grain rice has amylopectin, which makes it more sticky. I use Carnaroli rice (a rice with a short, plump grain that is grown in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions) instead of Arborio because it has the requisite starch content, but retains its moisture and shape through the cooking process.

When you are cooking risotto, the rice softens as it cooks, and therefore becomes more tender. Stirring constantly in a figure eight motion breaks up the grains and causes them to release more starch. The end result will be a sticky, gluey mass. Instead of using the figure eight technique, stir the rice only occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan, and move the pan back and forth every once in a while to rotate the rice from the top to the bottom. Proper risotto will be loose, creamy, and have a sheen. When you shake the pan back and forth, it should flow like a mass of lava, and not be overly liquid, or overly firm. I had the good fortune of preparing a wine dinner with an Italian chef who had just received his third Michelin Star. We prepared a red wine risotto with stuffed squab. When serving the risotto, he laid it out on a round plate, and it flowed smoothly out to the edges- a sharp contrast to the scooped out mass of risotto found in many restaurants. It was sauce-like, but rich, creamy, and shiny. It was delicious and authentic. This risotto gets a kick from the earthy red beet, floral acidity of lemon and balsamic, and peppery spiciness of arugula.