Thursday, February 23, 2012

Smoked Mozzarella Risotto

Risotto. Riz owe toe. Scary word. At least, in the kitchen. If you know what risotto is (and I've had people who said they didn't when I told them about this), it seems like a high-class restaurant dish, a side for only the experienced. Guess again. Yeah, apparently, you can make this stuff at home, and it's actually not hard!

A few months ago, I found this on Pinterest

Tasty-looking, yes? It's from the amazingly delicious blog Homemade by Holman (and the picture is 100% courtesy of them until I find the one I took). I had to make it. No matter how intimidating it looked, and she swore it wasn't hard, even for cooking newbies. She wasn't lying.

Smoked Mozzarella Risotto

1 tbsp butter
1/2 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup arborio rice (apparently this is the rice to use for all risottos)
1/4 cup dry white wine (Again with the wine, I just used more chicken stock since I'm not a wine fan)
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 oz smoked mozzarella cheese ,chopped into small pieces
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

In a large enough pot, heat the 3 cups of stock over medium heat.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. When completely melted, add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and stir it up to make sure the onion and garlic are distributed. Toast the rice, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Add the wine (or if you're like me, 1/4th cup of stock) and cook until almost all the liquid is gone.

Start adding the warmed broth 1 ladle at a time, being sure to stir often. Add another ladle of broth when the first ladle is almost all gone, just like before. Keep this up until you've added all but the last of the broth. The rice should be creamy and a bit runny, but still have a little bite to it. Add the sun-dried tomatoes with the last bit of broth and again cook until the rice has absorbed most of the broth.

Turn off the heat and add the mozzarella and the spices (except the salt. Only add the salt if you think it needs it)

And that's it! You've made risotto! Now, mine had a few hiccups. I think I mixed up the amounts of the thyme and the basil, so it was VERY thyme-y. Also, the cheese absolutely refused to melt. Wouldn't do it. I think next time I'll try adding the cheese a bit before taking it off the heat to try and melt it down more. Despite the hiccups, this was delicious, definitely a new dish to add to our regular sides. I'm keeping an eye out for other risotto dishes, too. It's really not as intimidating as it sounds!