Chef Ramsay: “How long on the risotto?”
Bob: “An hour chef”
Chef Ramsay: “An hour? Are you $%^&*@#$”
Those of you who watch Hell’s Kitchen will appreciate my hypothetical dialog with the star of that show (and those of you who don’t should be sure to go to Netflix or Hulu and immediately watch all of last season). That dialog was running through my mind last night when I set out to make a mushroom & asparagus risotto for dinner. Somehow on Hell’s Kitchen they are turning out risotto in minutes, while my rendition took well over an hour.
The choice of this dish was influenced by a blog post I recently read about the “Meatless Monday Movement” (say that three times fast). Around for 10 years now, this is an endeavor to encourage people to eat at least one meat-free meal each week. Since I try to throw in a vegetarian meal every once in awhile, the Meatless Monday website was a great place for me to go look for some new recipes. I’m not sure “Meatless Monday” is going to replace my “Meatloaf Monday” kick from earlier in the year – but any theme that helps to point me in a direction when trying to think up something for dinner is fine by me.
I have only made risotto once before – and that many years ago – but vaguely recalled it taking a lot of stirring. This recipe was all that and more. Before you even start the lengthy process of slowly adding liquid to the Arborio rice, you need to brown the mushrooms, cook the asparagus and sauté the onion and garlic. Lots of hands-on time spent on this recipe means it is certainly not your typical whip together on a weeknight meal, but since my family all had early evening commitments and we weren’t eating until later, it worked for us.
What also worked for us was the taste – that nice and rich risotto flavor balanced by the mushrooms and asparagus. I liked the fact that this was low fat, with very little oil. While Chef Ramsay might not have appreciated the time it took to make, he would hopefully have appreciated the flavor.
Recipe: Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto
P.S. Funny story about the photo. I forgot to take one before we starting eating as I normally do. By the time I remembered I was done with dinner, but jumped up and grabbed the bowl from in front of Anthony (who had just gotten home from basketball practice) and started snapping away. Sorry about that kid…