Thursday, March 4, 2010
Sun Dried Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto
When we went grocery shopping last weekend a new box of arborio rice was on my list because I had great plans to make Nigella Lawson's Cheddar Cheese Risotto (I expect to post that within the next week). On Monday after work I broke out my new box of arborio rice but settled on a concoction that involved no cheddar cheese or chives and, instead, was studded with delicious bits of sun dried tomatoes and cubes of melty fresh mozzarella cheese.
Risotto gets a bad rap for its perceived labor intensiveness. Sure, you can't put it on the stove or in the oven with a lid on it and expect it to come out properly, but the "stir constantly" part of the recipe, though necessary to release the starch that creates its creamy texture, is really not that taxing. For one, risotto is wet so if one stirs somewhat less frequently than constantly it's not going to scorch or stick right away. For another, risotto isn't dense or heavy so it doesn't take a lot of effort to stir. Many recipes that want you to stir something constantly want you to do so to avoid a burnt product or to turn unmanageable dough into manageable dough. Risotto isn't that high maintenance and the creamy (without cream in many instances) results are worth it.
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
1/2 cup fresh Mozzarella
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tb Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Place chicken stock in a small pot over medium heat and cook until simmering. Turn heat to low and leave on the stove.
Finely chop parsley and set aside.
Chop sun dried tomatoes into 1/2" pieces and set aside.
Dice Mozzarella into 1/2" cubes and set aside.
Finely dice onion.
Now You're Cookin':
Heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat and put 1 Tb of olive oil in the pan. I like to use the oil from the sun dried tomatoes to infuse the rice with the tomato flavor.
Add onions to the saute pan and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent.
Add arborio rice and stir to coat with the olive oil.
Add a ladle of the chicken broth to the rice and stir constantly until liquid is almost fully absorbed. Add chicken broth, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly after each addition until liquid is almost fully absorbed, until the rice is tender but still firm.
Add tomatoes, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to the pan. Stir to combine.
Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in parsley.