May 21, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers - Spring Green Risotto

The Barefoot Bloggers have some kind of nerve. Last month, just as my husband and I vowed abstinence from carbs, two cookie recipes were posted! Normally, I would have made them (and devoured them), but I made a promise to my husband and myself - NO MORE CARBS!!!

Then, just like that, May recipes are posted...Risotto. Damn.

Instead of making it the main dish, it became a side dish for our boneless, skinless, boring chicken breast. The arborio rice was also out. I searched the grocery store for a short grain brown rice to no avail. I settled for the brown version of sushi rice, a medium grain. Besides, it's a two-fer. Now experimentation with brown rice sushi can begin!

The problem with brown rice is that darn bran, the healthy part. White rice is stripped of the bran, therefore more readily gives up all those delicious starches. And starch makes for a creamy risotto. So I stirred and stirred. For an hour I stirred that rice into submission. I even have the blister to prove it.

A few minor substitutions were necessary, besides the rice. I replaced the wine with chicken broth. Cream cheese was substituted for mascarpone. White asparagus was the only variety available at the store. And I cheated - cooking the asparagus and peas WITH the rice instead of blanching separately.

The first picture shows the risotto process first starting. The rice has not absorbed the chicken stock nor released any starch. The second, the rice is plump and there is a thicker consistency to the stock.

I want to love risotto. This version was better than my previous attempt by a mile. The problem is that I always except far more creaminess than actually exists, and when there is still a bite to the rice, I'm put off. It's a texture thang. Plus, the peas weren't fully cooked and soft (cheats never work), so that added another texture issue. My tot loved it. I liked it. My husband would be fine never eating it again. The recipe is a good one, regardless of aforementioned indiscretions.

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