Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rice Re-Vamp

My all time favorite spirit is dry champagne. It doesn't have to be a special occasion and I don't have to be celebrating something. If there is champagne available I will always chose the bubbly over anything else. I love the dry bite and the bubbles - the morning after headaches, that's a different story.

As much as I love champagne, I hadn't ever cooked with it until the Champagne Truffles I made for New Year's Eve. They were a huge hit and I decided I would try Champagne as an ingredient in a savory dish.

Champagne Risotto
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 3/4 cup Dry Champagne
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the 4 slices of prosciutto on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake until the prosciutto slices are almost completely crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Reserve for garnish.

In a medium saucepan, bring the 3 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the chicken stock at a low simmer.

In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the finely chopped shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the 3/4 cup of Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more.

Add the 3/4 cups of Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next,

until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total or until you use the 3 cups of chicken broth. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp prosciutto into smaller pieces over the top of the risotto. Serve immediately.

This recipe is written for only two servings. I think if you were serving it with several other items you could possibly get four small servings out of this recipe, but if you are feeding any more than four people I would definitely double this recipe. Both Forrest and I really enjoyed this dish. Forrest remarked that it tasted like a casserole because of the creaminess and the different ingredients mixed into the rice. This is most assuredly not a recipe you can walk away from during cooking. Risotto is a very needy dish (ok, I know dishes can't be needy, but if they could then this dish would call all the time and show up uninvited and constantly be looking for attention). From the second you start preparing it, you are tied to the stove. You can't walk off to answer the phone, go to the bathroom or check your email - you have to stir the whole time until the dish is finished. I know that sounds like a pain, but trust me, it is worth every revolution of the pan.


Liz said...

I love champagne AND Giada. This looks like a winner!

Gabriela said...

Elizabeth - your adaptations sounds marvelous! I can't wait to try it. I mean, champagne AND risotto? What's not to love?

bensbaby116 said...

I could definitely drink champagne every day. :) This looks GREAT. Thanks for posting.

Joelen said...

This is such an elegant risotto! Great job!

Dragon said...

I love champagne too. I can't get enough of the bubbles and the drier the better. :)

Your risotto is a stunner!

natalie said...

ohhh that risotto looks gooood!! giada's recipes are always a hit at my house too!

Court said...

Fantastic! Way to glam up a great winter comfort food.

MaryBeth said...

This sounds very interesting, looks great.