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CLASSIC ITALIAN RISOTTO - FIVE VERSIONS

THE PERFECT BLANK CANVAS
Risotto, an ever popular Northern Italian rice dish (think Venice) is made from short-grained, starchy Arborio. It's the perfect combination of soft, creamy and slightly firm texture, served as a main course or a side. 
Our basic recipe includes healthy Butter olive oil as a butter substitute, fresh Parmesan, chicken stock, white wine and a flavourful splash of infused white balsamic according to your palette and canvas. The dish needs 20 to 40 minutes of dedicated time to pour and stir. That's about it. Then add whatever ingredients you'd like: a seafood, a favourite green veggie, bacon or chicken for the last stir. Serve it warm with an added drizzle of fresh olive oil. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

6 tbsp fresh extra virgin olive oil  
5 tbsp Butter olive oil 
Kosher salt to taste if using unsalted stock
1/2 large onion (or 1 medium), peeled, trimmed and finely chopped 
2 cups Arborio rice
9-10 cups chicken stock, heated
1 cup dry white wine
1-3/4 cups grated Parmesan
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

OPTION: Replace 1/2 cup wine with 1/2 cup of your choice of our infused white balsamics eg. Sicilian Lemon, Cranberry Pear, Pumpkin Spice, Honey Ginger

DIRECTIONS:

Bring stock to a simmer and leave on medium-low heat. Heat olive oil on medium, in a medium-sized Dutch oven. Cook onion, stirring frequently until softened. Add 1/2 cup stock. Stir again until water evaporates and the onion pieces sizzle in the remaining oil. Taste to see that the onion is very soft. Then add rice and stir until coated with oil. Continue to stir until the sides of the rice is translucent. This step should take about 5 minutes. It is very important to keep the rice coated with oil to prevent the rice from becoming mushy. You'll be slowly cooking the rice from the outside in. The next step is to add wine, a little salt and balsamic if you're using this ingredient. Simmer until liquid is evaporated, another 2 minutes. On medium add 3/4 cup chicken stock, stir and allow liquid to be absorbed before adding another 3/4 cup. Repeat this step every 2 to 3 minutes until the rice is al dente and surround by fluid. This process should take about 1/2 hour. If the rice is absorbing the stock to quickly turn down the heat. The classic creamy consistency of risotto is created by the balance of absorbing liquid with constant stirring. It's wise to check the rice after 15 minutes to gauge its doneness, being careful not to overcook. Remove from heat and add Butter olive oil as well as any other ingredients. Other ingredients should be cooked prior to adding to risotto. Return to low heat and stir until warmed. Gradually add 1¼ cups Parmesan, stirring until cheese is melted and liquid surrounding risotto is creamy. You can always add a bit more stock if the consistency is too thick. Serve in warm bowls with fresh ground pepper, an additional drizzle of fresh olive oil and Parmesan to taste.

Inspired by: Bon Appetit

 

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MUSHROOM RISOTTO

 

Cook the best earthy mushrooms you can find. We prefer fragrant wild varieties but a good Cremini or Portobello work too. Avoid any extra moisture. Wipe clean with a dry cloth or paper towel. Cook chunky mushroom pieces in fresh olive oil on medium heat, until soft. Add to almost completed risotto mixture before adding Parmesan. 

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FARMERS MARKET RISOTTO

Stir fry favourite fall veggies in a separate pan until barely tender. Carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, fresh herbs including sage, rosemary and thyme. Add to risotto mixture prior to adding Parmesan. 

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RISOTTO WITH SALMON

Roast salmon fillet(s) at 350 degrees, skin side down, brushed with olive oil, for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove skin before cutting salmon in 2-inch cubes. Add to risotto gently folding into mixture before adding Parmesan.

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RISOTTO WITH FRESH SHRIMP

Add peeled and trimmed fresh shrimp in the final stage of the risotto prep, and before adding Parmesan. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes until barely pink. Then add Parmesan. You do not want to overcook the shrimp. 

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RISOTTO WITH PEAS & MINT

Add fresh or frozen peas just before adding Parmesan. Then add fresh mint leaves (to taste) when the risotto is complete, stir or use as a garnish.

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PUMPKIN/SPICE SQUASH RISOTTO

A seasonal celebration of butternut squash and our Pumpkin Spice white balsamic. Add Pumpkin Spice in place of 1/2 cup white wine. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and peel. Place on sheet pan with rounded side down. Drizzle generous amount of fresh olive oil (or Garlic olive oil). Roast squash until tender. Cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes. Add to risotto when the cooking process is completed before adding Parmesan. Stir and serve.