Goat Cheese Risotto

I made my first risotto!

My kitchen funk has been lasting for a few weeks now.  I have not been inspired in the kitchen, and consequently most of what I have been cooking up has been lackluster.  I decided the only way to get over this funk was to face it head on.  So, I returned to a food that many fear to make: risotto.  I have never had risotto before, and my first attempt at the dish a few weeks ago was Disastrous (with a capital D here).  I ate hard, undercooked rice that night for dinner. (In my defense, people on Top Chef seem to have risotto problems too)

I decided I had to conquer this dish, not only because I have a full container of rice sitting in the pantry but also because I needed to assert myself as the master of my kitchen.  This time my risotto was a success!  It was creamy and perfectly cooked.  Now that I’ve made a basic risotto, I think I am ready to experiment with some new flavor combinations.  And I think my kitchen funk may finally be over- I just planned out my meals for the next week, and I am feeling excited to cook again!

Also, risotto may be a perfect dish for a Valentine’s celebration at home with your lover.  But not me-  I, as a single lady, am obligated to sit on the couch in my PJs eating chocolate, reading Kathy comics, and watching romantic comedies starring Hugh Grant.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

GOAT CHEESE RISOTTO
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup dried arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, simmering
3-4 ounces goat cheese, softened
Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS
In a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock until simmering.  Keep over heat at constant simmer while cooking risotto.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Melt butter and add shallot to skillet.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened.  Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.  Add rice and toast for 5-7 minutes.
Add white wine to pan and cook until absorbed, 5-7 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of simmering chicken stock to risotto and cook, stirring frequently, for 7-9 minutes.  Add another 1/2 cup of chicken stock when the stock in the skillet is almost completely absorbed.  When you run your spoon down the pan and the risotto does not immediately fill back, you are ready to add more liquid. Repeat until all of chicken stock is absorbed; this should take 30-35 minutes total.
Turn off heat and stir in goat cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in blanched broccoli, peas, or mushrooms if desired.
Serves 2-3.
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