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Risotto a la Lisa

July 8, 2008

When I moved into my first apartment (an attic studio in New York where the roof collapsed on me one stormy night — but that’s another story), I was always pinching pennies for meals. Taking pity on me, my self-taught-gourmand sister would whip up recipes for me in her head like my fairy-cookmother, guiding my kitchen adventures via the telephone. You’re making Risotto, it’s the easiest thing in the world, she said one afternoon. Just fry up some onions and garlic, throw in some Arborio rice, stir in some dry wine, then broth to plump up the rice, add in your accompaniment, cheese, and some spicespresto you’ve got a rich filling (and inexpensive) meal. And oh, there’s a little stirring involved, but hey it’s a good forearm workout.

Risotto has become one of my staples and I like to think of it as a medium, like pasta or grains, to showcase my weekly Market bounty. I had some English shelling peas, leeks, and shitakes that needed a vehicle to get into my tummy and this week’s risotto (named after my fairy-cookmother sister) was born. I added some fresh thyme to complement the earthy mushrooms. The creamy risotto, lathered with parmesan and fresh cracked pepper, was swimming with gentle leeks and fresh peas bursting with summer flavor. Fantastico!

For recipe…

Risotto a la Lisa

1 pound English shelling peas, shelled and blanched (2-3 minutes)

1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, diced

3 leeks, trimmed, and diced (just the white part)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 bunch fresh thyme, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 cups vegetable or free range chicken broth

2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

kosher salt, fresh pepper

In a deep pot, saute leeks in olive oil until translucent, add garlic, then rice until glistening (2 minutes). Add wine and stir occasionally until absorbed. In a separate pot, bring broth to a boil and let simmer. Add 1/2 cup of broth at a time to the rice and cook down, stirring occasionally (every couple minutes or so) to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom. In a skillet, saute the mushrooms in a little oil and reduce. When you’ve used all the broth, the rice should have an al dente texture with a little give. To finish, stir in thyme, mushrooms, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Makes six servings.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce permalink
    July 15, 2008 11:44 am

    A pleasant surprise to find this Old World dish reawaken. It’ll pick up even more flavor on the second day, so definitely cook up a feast. For a twist, consider a dash of pecorino. There’s definitely a spirit of the Italian hillside in this one!

  2. Bruce permalink
    July 16, 2008 1:05 am

    A pleasant surprise to find this Old World dish reawaken. It’ll pick up even more flavor on the second day, so definitely cook up a feast. For a twist, consider a dash of pecorino. There’s definitely a spirit of the Italian hillside in this one!

  3. lastomach permalink*
    July 26, 2008 1:51 am

    I’ll have to try it with pecorino bruce. And yes, there are always leftovers!

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