Daring cooks: risotto

I can hardly believe it is my third daring cook challenge that I finished and every time our wonderful hosts were able to choose an absolutely delicious dish.
They even made me travel the world and this time our travels brought me to Italy. Where Eleanor from melbournefoodgeek and Jess from Jessthebaker dared us into making our own stock and risotto.
Risotto… you might not believe it, but the first time I actually ate risotto was in that same restaurant I was talking about in my daring baker post!
At home we don’t eat it very regularly, but when we do, I make the traditional risotto with just some delicious parmesan cheese, some dry white wine and some creamy melted butter. Traditional, but sometimes that’s the best way to have it!
I never made my how stock and to be quit honest I don’t think I ll do it again. Not only did it went a little wrong and I ended up with the most flavourless stock ever. (I blame the chicken I used for that!), but I also don’t have the time to cook for 3 hours and end up with just some stock. Of course I am one of the lucky once that can buy fresh stock or broth add the butcher shop and the taste of that is exquisite! But it was fun to make it myself for once and that’s what daring cooks is all about. Trying new things, introducing new recipes and deciding what to keep for the future. I am not keeping the stock, but I am definitely keeping the risotto recipe!
I pushed my boundaries and left the classic risotto for what it was and went for a zucchini risotto. I served it with some chicken I marinated with some lavender infused oil and stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. I reduced some dark, sweet balsamic vinegar and used it to decorated the plates. But as it turned out, my guests loved this sour sweet touch to the creaminess of the risotto. Mission accomplished once again!

INGREDIËNTS FOR THE STOCK

1 chicken (appr. 1 kilo)cut into pieces
2 medium onions roughly diced
1 leek (only the white part) roughly diced
2 stalks of celery roughly diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon of white peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
½ the peel of a lemon
¼ teaspoon all spice
I added some store-bought stock to get the flavour up.

INGREDIËNTS FOR THE RISOTTO

60 ml of olive oil
1 small onion finally chopped
400 grams of Risotto Rice
60 ml white wine
1 litre of chicken stock
1 zucchini
1 tablespoon of lavender infused white balsamic vinegar
some dried oregano
some dried thyme
50 grams unsalted butter
60 grams parmesan

Making the stock

Wash the chicken and bones and place them in a soup casserole, cover them completely with water and bring this to the boil.
Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface.
When it boils you add the vegetables and you let it come to the boil once more.
Then add the rest of the ingredients ( cinnamon, peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon peel and all spice) and let it cook, uncovered for 1,5 hours.
Carefully lift out the chicken and set it aside. (I used the boiled chicken in a vol au vent, but you can use it in a chicken soup, a noodle dish or an omelette for example!)
Now let the stock simmer gently for another whole hour.
Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less little bones and vegetables that are disturbed in the process the clearer your stock will be.
Now the stock is ready for use, if it is a little much you can always freeze it till later.

Making the risotto

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Fry it for a couple of minutes until it starts to discard his flavours. (You can throw away the onion, but I love onions so I used it in my risotto!)
Now add the risotto rice and stir so that each grain gets a coat of oil. Let it toast for a couple of minutes.

In the meanwhile I want to point out how important the use of good risotto rice is. When I made risotto for the first time at home I used Bosto Mediteranneo rice. The package said especially for risotto and paella. Well the package lied! This time I used Arborio rice from the Italian brand Ezzaluna. Wonderful rice and guess what: cheaper then that horrible stuff of Bosto! No wait… let the pictures speak for itself:

Anyway, you let the rice cook for a bake for a couple of minutes before you add the wine. Let it bubble away until the wine is evaporated!
Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width and turn the heat to medium. Stire now and then with a wooden spoon, until the stock is almost totally absorbed.
Now do this again, but make sure you leave aside about 100 ml of stock.

In the meanwhile dice the zucchini into small cubes and heat in a little pan some olive oil.
Add the zucchini and flavour it with some coarse sea salt, some thyme and oregano.

Let it bake for a while and then add the balsamic vinegar.

I love balsamic vinegar to be honest but this one is quiet something in my eyes.
It’s a white balsamic vinegar from Modena and its infused with lavender, which gives it a very interesting flavour. You have the complex sweetness and sharpness of the vinegar and then comes the bittersweetness of the lavender.

Now back to the risotto! Add the zuchinni to the rice and stir trough. Then add the last 100 ml of stock and about 50 grams of butter to the rice and stir until both are completely absorbed.
Stir trough the parmesan, stick the lid on and let it sit for a few minute.
The risotto should look smooth, creamy and oozy buy now and is ready to serve!

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3 responses to “Daring cooks: risotto

  1. Your risotto looks sensational! I love the zucchini addition =D.

  2. I like the zucchini addition in your risotto and the plating looks very pretty.:-)

  3. Wonderful! That white balsamic with the lavender sounds amazing too.

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