It often doesn’t work that way though does it? However, this year we’ve promised to have at least one special meal out there each week with a real conversation and everything. I’m worried if we don’t make a conscious effort to enjoy life then it will just pass us by.
This week we’re having risotto with seared scallops. The scallops will simply be seared for two minutes on each side in a screaming hot pan and dressed right at the end with a small dollop of butter. Remember to pat them with a towel before they go in the pan or you won’t get that delicious crust on the outside.
Icecream with a chunk of dark chocolate and fresh raspberries will finish things off nicely.
I’ve put on the dog here a bit here and likely the rest of the meals will be olives and cheese on a plate but I wanted to christen the tradition just right.
This dish goes quickly so you want to have everything ready to go. I’ve got homemade chicken stock but don’t worry about it if you don’t-use what you have in the house. I’ve added zucchinni and pieces of asparagus to my rissotto but you can use mushrooms, leeks, peas, carrots…
In a heavy pan take 2 T. of butter, melt and saute until soft (no colour) one clove of minced garlic. Add in 2 cups of arborio rice (this is a short grain rice that helps to give the signature creaminess to risotto). Stir for a minute to coat the rice in the butter.
Start adding warmed stock one ladle at a time. Letting the rice absorb it before adding the next. I admit though that I have sort of freakish luck with risotto and not only do I not heat my stock but I also add a good cup or so of stock at a time-you might have literally heard Gordon Ramsay scream in agony.
Add pepper and a 1 tsp of chopped fresh thyme at this point but don’t add salt as you will be dousing the whole thing with a lot of parmesan at the end and you’ll find it too salty then.
Keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan but don’t stir too much. If you do, you’ll break the rice and the whole thing will be chicken flavoured mush. Ick.
If I’m also using vegetables that aren’t yet cooked and need a little time in the pan-this is when I add them. I often add a splash (about a T.) of vermouth right about now too.
You’ll end-up using about 4 cups of stock and needing around 20 minutes to make the dish. Start tasting the rice after 15 minutes. You want a bit of bite but a creaminess as well. DON’T wait until the rice is cooked through before taking it off of the stove. Food still keeps cooking and you will have a plate of glop if you don’t slightly undercook-see aformentioned Ick!
Finish with 1 cup of grated parmesan.
Set the stage for a good talk. Sparkling rose champagne usually doesn’t go amiss.
Extra parmesan on the table to guild the lilly. A few cherry tomatoes and flowers picked from the garden.
Now, don’t panic. I’ve made a double batch of this dish for a reason. I want to use the leftovers for one of my favourite appetizers and to get leftovers in my house you really have to make a lot 🙂