I firmly believe in the power of a well prepared meal to cure the ills of the day. In times of stress or just when I need a bit of a pick me up, there is nothing more comforting to me than a meal that I took the time to make for myself or one that has been made for me with care. One of the best meals of my life was made for me by a dear friend who was so nervous to cook for me but made the effort. That made me feel so very loved and I still enjoy making a version of that citrus salmon dish (which I adapted to make my Salmon with Cilantro Lime Butter) today. As that recipe proves, food doesn’t have to be complex to be a gift to the person you are cooking for. It is the fact that you have made the effort to care for someone that is the important part.
A bit of a lull in the hectic rush of work had meant that I got the chance to make a meal that would take a bit more time and effort than my usual fast, easy, healthy dinners. I decided to make risotto. If there is something I love almost as much as pasta, it is rice. Okay, I know that they serve basically the same culinary purpose but they are totally different to me! Pasta was my first food love. I could make real red sauce as a very young kind. Rice, now that is a bit newer to me. I always had great stirfrys with rice from my mom but I didn’t really understand rice in its full glory until I moved to Hawaii where it is basically a way of life. Now, I can’t go more than a few days without eating rice in some form (even in the unexpected ones like butter mochi)!
Risotto gets a bad rap for being very difficult to make. That really shouldn’t be the case. It take a bit of time but, as long as you pay attention, it really isn’t very difficult. Drink wine, stir rice. That simple! Creamy, savory, easy to adapt or pair with tons of different things, risotto is awesome. It also is one of those dishes that makes you look like a rockstar cook since everyone is too scared to cook it after seeing people like Gordon Ramsey yell about how hard it is to make on TV. Just like fresh pasta, it shouldn’t be as tough to make as people say it is. Take the risk, make the dish. You will be rewarded, I promise.
Whether you are caring for yourself or someone you love, take the time to make a comforting meal. Happy cooking! ~ Molly
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup white wine
- 4 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
- ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, 2 chopped and 2 crushed
- 3 tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup basil, chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary, 1 chopped
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Mix wine, water, crushed garlic, ⅛ onion, and 1 sprig rosemary; bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper
- Saute chopped garlic, chopped rosemary, and remaining onions in 1 tbsp butter until onions are translucent; add mushrooms; saute until mushrooms are cooked; remove from pan
- Melt 1 tbsp butter in the pan; toast rice until just beginning to get color, 1-3 minutes; add approx ¼ of the mushrooms
- Add 2-3 ladles of liquid; stir; allow to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently
- Continue adding liquid a few ladles at a time until the rice is cooked but firm, approx 20 minutes; season with salt and pepper
- Stir in remaining butter and ½ of the parsley and basil; top with remaining mushrooms and herbs