Monday, April 23, 2012

April Secret Recipe Club...Featuring Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Rosemary & Thyme

Hey, friends! It’s time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal. I totally love being part of this amazing monthly blog’s such a fun way to meet new food blog friends AND spotlight some of your favorite blogs. My assigned blog this month was Eliot’s Eats, which is a blog I visit on a regular basis. The food shared on this blog is always tasty and approachable, and the stories and anecdotes that accompany each recipe always make me smile! I was so excited to try one of Eliot’s many wonderful recipes. Since I never met a risotto I didn’t love, I decided to play around with her Risotto with Caramelized Onions and Rosemary

My go-to risotto is from Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook, but it’s not something I whip up all the time. It's got quite a few steps...and a cup of whipped cream and truffle oil added in at the end. It’s a once-in-a-while splurge for us. This risotto has a lot of the same flavors, actually...but it's a much better weeknight option. The measurements below reflect a half batch of 2-3 servings since it's just the two of us at Casa Garcia. 

I had some thyme and rosemary left from a few recent recipes, so I used both herbs to flavor the risotto...and I stirred in 1/4 cup cream and 2 tbs. butter when I added the parmesan at the end. The only other tweak I made to the original recipe was to add the herbs to the onions as they caramelized to infuse the flavor into the onions rather than adding them to the risotto just before serving.

Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Rosemary & Thyme
adapted from Eliot's Eats

Step 1:  Add 1-2 tbs. olive oil to a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add about 1 cup of yellow onion that's been cut in half and into half-moon-shaped pieces. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary and 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves. Reduce heat to med-low and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are golden-brown. Add 1/4 cup dry white wine to deglaze the pan and set aside.

Step 2:  Warm 1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock in a microwave-safe measuring cup until it's simmering -- about 3-4 minutes. Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add two finely minced or grated garlic cloves to the oil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup arborio rice and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

Step 3:  Add 1 cup of the warm chicken stock to the rice-garlic mixture. Stir constantly until the rice absorbs all of the stock...this should take about five minutes. Note: for a veg-friendly risotto, sub veggie stock for the chicken stock.

Repeat the cooking process with 1 cup of stock each time...until the stock is gone and the risotto is creamy and just cooked. Don't rush it...risotto is a labor of love! Put on some nice music in the background and appreciate the Zen of it!! I always listen to Miles Davis's Kind of Blue when I make risotto...

Step 4:  Remove the cooked risotto from the heat. Add the herb-infused caramelized onions, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 tbs. butter, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Stir well to combine, spoon into bowls, garnish with additional parmesan...and dig in!!

If you've never made risotto before, don't be intimidated! Once you master the basic technique and remember to let the risotto develop slowly, it'll become a regular part of your dinner rotation. Risotto can easily be a meal by itself...for me, a bowl of risotto + a fork = a balanced dinner! However, Michael likes to add protein to the equation, so I served the risotto with grilled chicken and a green salad. 

This risotto was SO GOOD...the caramelized onions were a fantastic flavor addition, and the thyme-rosemary combo was perfectly balanced. You can leave out the cream and butter that I added at the end if you’s totally optional, but oh-so-richly satisfying. If you keep the rest of the meal on the light side with simple grilled protein and a salad, it helps balance out the meal. Balance is a good thing...and so is this risotto. Trust me!

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