Mmm. I've always enjoyed risotto at restaurants but for some reason, perhaps because I had only ever had it at restaurants, I had this notion that it was hard to make. The other night I was having a friend over for dinner after work and I thought, what the heck, I'm going to make risotto. So I did. Just like that. Turns out, not that difficult, and so, so delicious (and this one makes a great leftover)!
Just about every time I log onto the Cooks Illustrated website I see a recipe for risotto in my perusing, and this one was in their latest magazine, so I thought I'd give their recipe a try. Now. I said it wasn't difficult, but it wasn't super straight forward either. This recipe takes a bit of time and a bunch of preparation (chopping onions, shredding chicken, and so on), but it's nothing you can't handle (I'm pretty sure), and totally worth it in the end.
With the chicken, it makes for a reasonable entree, but you can easily make this recipe without it, too, and serve it as a side.
Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Chicken and Herbs from Cook's Illustrated May 2010
Ingredients: 5 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water, 1 T olive oil, 2 small chicken breasts, 4 T butter, 1 large onion, chopped fine, salt, 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced, 2 cups Arborio rice, 1 cup dry white wine, 2 oz grated Parmesan cheese, 1 t juice from 1 lemon, 2 T chipped fresh parsley, 2 T chopped fresh chives, ground black pepper.
Directions: Bring broth and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Add chicken and cook without moving until golden brown, 4-6 minutes. Flip chicken and cook second side until lightly browned, about two minutes. Transfer chicken to saucepan of simmering broth and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to large plate.
While the chicken is cooking in the broth, add 2 T of butter to the now empty Dutch oven, set over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onion and 3/4 t salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, sitrring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes.
Add wine and cook, stirring constantly until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir 5 cups warm broth into rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is just al dente, 16-18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.
Add 3/4 cup warm broth to risotto and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan. Remove pot from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
While the risotto is cooking and 'standing', shred chicken meat into bite-size pieces. When risotto is ready to serve, stir shredded chicken, remaining 2 T butter, lemon juice, parsley and chives into risotto. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you wish, add up to 1/2 cup additional broth to loosen the texture of the risotto.
Serve, and of course, enjoy!