Thursday, November 15, 2012

For The Love of Risotto

(Holidays 2011 Me, Mom, Dad and my twin brother, Andrew)

I will never forget the first time I tried to make risotto. I wanted to prepare something special and "gourmet" for my family. I read dozens of recipes before attempting this seemingly exotic dish. I thought I was ready. I thought I knew how to make ristotto. Afterall, it didn't seem that complicated.

Boy was I wrong! When I tasted my first batch, I nearly broke my tooth. I tried .....and I cried. My rice was raw. My mom and I somehow salvaged it in the microwave (my chefs are probably cringing as they read this.). It wasn't good but we ate it anyways.

Years, and a dozen dinners later, I grew more confident in my risotto skills. I've made family favorites such as:
mushroom , asparagus and winter squash. All satisfying and delicious. In fact, everytime I travel home to see my parents, they wont let me leave without making a fresh pasta or risotto meal.

That being said, my skills are far from perfect. I've never worked in an Italian restaurant with an Italian chef. Over the past week, I've been working in Caterina de' Medici, the Northern Italian restaurant on campus. My station, "Hot Appetizers", is responsible for 5 dishes, including the Roasted Beet Risotto.

My chef has risotto running through his veins. My partner and I can never cook the dish perfectly and are constantly learning. We've found that risotto takes time, patience and repetition. It's frustrating, but we are determined.

One day we will cook the ultimate risotto.

For one of our "Family Meal" lunches, I made a Roasted Carrot Risotto with Roasted Fall Vegetables (Fennel, Brussels, Golden Beets, Butternut Squash). I was rushed for time and wasn't convinced that it was up to par. It tasted fine to me, but I thought I could have done better.

When the teaching assistant told me that it could have been cooked longer,  my soul was shattered. I wondered, "will I ever get risotto right?"


I will eventually master the art. I have 2-weeks of class to make picture-perfect risotto. It's good to have goals.  And when/if I find the secret, I will be sure to share it here!

C'est La Vie,


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