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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Risotto

Rice is always a nice variation from potatoes. There are many kinds of rice so the possibilities are endless and versatile. I will admit the majority of the rice I make is cooked using a rice cooker. Risotto is cooked on the stovetop. It takes a little more effort and a bit less time but the results are well worth it.

Risotto

Risotto has a rich and creamy texture from the starches yet the rice grains are al dente from the way it is cooked. A short-grained round or semi-round rice are best for making risotto. These inclued Arborio, Vialone, Nano, Carnaroli and Originario. Long grained rices do not make a good risotto because the grains stay separate. Minute rice also will not work because it won't absorb the liquid yet the grains remain separate.

I used Arborio rice for the risotto and turkey stock for the liquid. When the risotto was al dente, I stirred in sauteed mushrooms. I omitted adding Parmesan cheese because I was serving the risotto with fish. The result was a nicely flavoured, creamy risotto accented with mushrooms.

Method: Chop 1 small onion then sauté with herbs (if desired) in a good layer of olive oil. Remove the onion and herbs leaving the oil in the pan. Stir in rice and sauté until the rice is translucent about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent rice from sticking. Return the onion and herbs to the pan. Stir in a third cup of warmed* dry white or red wine. When the wine has been absorbed, stir in a ladle of simmering broth. Add another ladle of both before the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth in this manner as the rice absorbes it until the rice barely reaches the al dente stage. Stir in a tablespoon of butter. If you want a richer risotto stir in a quarter cup of heavy cream**. Cover and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Just before serving stir in fresh grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve.

* Cold liquid will shock the rice causing it to flake on the outside and stay hard at the core.
** Risotto that has had cream added is called mantecato. It is remarkably smooth.


Pan Fried Perch with Risotto

We catch perch along with other fish for fresh eating and stocking the freezers. Then when we don't have fresh caught we turn to our freezers where several meals worth of we caught are are waiting. Last night I decided to continue on our fish theme using perch. Fresh perch is a family favourite. The small fillets have light almost sweet flavour. They are best pan fried but can be prepared other ways. What ever method you use, do not over cook as perch will dry out very quickly because of it's small size.

Perch is usually dredged in a light flour coating or can be dredged in cornmeal for a slightly textured coating. I used a slightly seasoned flour for dredging then fried the perch in a cast iron fry pan until golden brown. I served the perch with risotto and steamed rutabaga. I would have served with spinach but the rutabaga needed to be used up. It was a nice, mellow meal.


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