Roasted Lemon Risotto

It's winter and I am missing working on the truck, so I decided to start a book club, well more like a dinner/book club. We met this past Monday to discuss the book "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. It's a beautifully written book that takes place during World War II. It intertwines charter's lives with such splendid detail that your minds eye sees ALL. Against all odds, there is beauty in even the ugliest parts of war. It's a must read! 

I felt like making something splendid, the book left me with a feeling of the goodness in all of us in some of the most unlikely of times. Risotto is a lovely thing to know how to make properly! It took me until I went to culinary school to learn the real tricks to making this dish that is often thought of as "too difficult to make".

On the menu -  
Roasted Lemon Risotto
Seared Garlic Shrimp with Browned Butter and a Pomegranate Glaze

 

Roasted Lemon Risotto

Start by roasting 2-3 lemons. Roll with the palm of your hand on a hard surface (this makes them juicer) and cut in half. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper, place lemons cut-side down. Roast in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, squeeze and set aside. 

  • 2 cups of Arborio rice
  • 2 quarts of good vegetable stock 
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1-1/2 cups of good white wine
  • 1 cup of finely grated Asiago Cheese
  • 1 cup of Manchego Cheese
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 1 bunch of chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1-2 roasted lemons  
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Browned Butter 
Add a stick of butter to a sauce pan over medium to low heat, stir occasionally, but don't walk away, it's like sugar, it burns easily! It will go thru a series of different bubbles and start to turn brown, this is the fat solubles in the butter caramelizing! When it's brown and toasted, set aside.

Risotto

You will need a large saute pan as well as a sauce pan. It is key that you heat the stock before adding to the rice, keep it hot as you slowly add it. Chop onion and set aside. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add the rice and butter, cooking for about 2 minutes while stirring, then add the onion and saute for an additional 3 minutes, allowing the onions to sweat a bit. 

Slowly add the wine, it will sizzle be careful. Let the wine absorb. Add 1 cup of the hot stock and stir, stir, stir, not adding another until each cup is absorbed. Stirring all the while! Continue to add stock 1 cup at a time until the rice is cooked through. *see note below for a dinner party trick!


The KEY to risotto is to slowly add liquid, not adding more until it is absorbed and stir, stir, stir! Good risotto should not be left alone. It is impossible to say how much liquid, you have to taste as you go, adding more until the rice it tender. When the rice is tender, add the cream, the cheeses and the chopped parsley. Remove from heat and serve immediately! 

*Culinary School Trick
Risotto is best served hot and steaming right from the stove! It takes a long time slowly adding the stock to reach perfection, and dinner guests are left waiting. So the trick is to stop the cooking process at just about al dente, when it is almost done take if off the stove, line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread the al dente risotto out on the pan and refrigerate. When your guests arrive, get everyone settled, put the chilled rice into a pan and add some hot stock to finish the cooking until it's hot and ready to serve to guests! This is how every restaurant is serving good risotto, it takes a long time to cook and now you know the cheat! 

Glaze

  • 1-2 cups Pomegranate juice

Add juice to a small sauce pan over med low heat cook until reduced to about 1/3. This concentrates the flavors. It will be thick and will also thicken as it cools. Set aside.

Shrimp

  • 1 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp. Wild is best! If you want to know why, send me a comment and I will tell you the horrible truths of farmed shrimp! 
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped

Clean shrimp, add garlic and keep cold until needed. Heat a saute pan, add a drizzle of olive oil, then add the shrimp just before you are adding the hot stock to the risotto. Cook the shrimp on each side 3 minutes, no longer! Over-cooked shrimp is a pet peeve of mine, so I never order it out! It should be tender and sweet, not chewy at all! 

Serve over the risotto, drizzle with Pomegranate glaze and browned butter, YUM! 

 

Happy Cooking, from my house to yours!

Chef Carol

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