Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Make Escarole and Parmesan Risotto Before You Fly

escarole and parmesan risotto

Before I leave my house for a trip, I have to use up all of the food in my refrigerator. If I don't, I'll be wracked with guilt, or worse. Like the time I had a full-blown panic attack somewhere in the blue skies over Arizona because I had realized that I had forgotten to use up the last half of a head of radicchio.

So prior to leaving for New Orleans recently, I made sure to use up all of the produce, meat and dairy in my fridge well before I even boarded the plane in San Diego. That's how I ended up making this Escarole and Parmesan Risotto.

The night before we left, I opened my crisper drawer to find a lonely head of escarole. Since I didn't have any cannelini beans, I knew escarole and beans was out, so I did what any good Italian would do and carbed up with risotto.

Whether you love making risotto or become short of breath at the mere thought of all that stirring, you might like to check out my NPR article, "Taking The Risk Out Of Risotto." I show you how to make perfect risotto every time without constantly stirring. I also share  recipes for Autumn Risotto with Apples, Pancetta, and Sage, Risotto with Broccoli Rabe and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pumpkin Pie Risotto with Candied Pecans.

Oh, and you might like to know that my trip to New Orleans was turbulence-free.

Escarole and Parmesan Risotto
Makes 4 servings
Printable recipe.

3 1/2 cups regular or low sodium vegetable broth
2 teaspoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 shallot, diced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4-5 packed cups escarole, thinly sliced, divided
The zest and juice of 1/2 of a medium lemon
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring broth to a simmer.

2. For the risotto, heat 2 teaspoons butter and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a wide, shallow, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add diced shallot and saute 3 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the rice and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly translucent. Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated. Add 3 cups escarole and a couple of pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well. Cook the risotto at a slow simmer, adding heated broth a half-cup at a time. Stir occasionally, making sure the risotto absorbs the liquid before adding more. Use slightly more or less broth as needed. Continue cooking in this manner for 18 to 20 minutes. Near the end of the cooking process, stir in the remaining escarole and lemon zest and juice; season with more salt and black pepper. Taste the risotto — it should be creamy and thick. It's best al dente, which means it should be fully cooked, yet still retain some firmness when you chew it.

3. When the risotto is cooked, turn off heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of butter and 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve risotto on warm plates and sprinkle with extra grated cheese and, if desired, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

Here are more delicious risotto recipes you might enjoy:
Lobster Risotto recipe from Food Blogga
Winter Risotto recipe from Proud Italian Cook
Risotto with Swiss Chard recipe from The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Butternut Squash Risotto with Seared Scallops recipe from gourmet traveller
Sweet Potato and Spinach Risotto recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod