I wrote this post a loooong time ago but have been way too busy with work and the beautiful weather to really do anything with my blog or youtube. I’ve been down with the flu for around a week now, so I thought I might as well update something =). Here’s a risotto post that I had written a while back.
Over the Easter weekend, I made several things, but what I’d like to share is my lamb risotto. Risotto is one of my favorite dishes and serving lamb with the risotto is a simple and flavorful way to combine the two. It’s actually a shame that many restaurants here don’t seem to do a great job with risotto. When I travelled to Italy and tasted the risottos there, it truly tasted as if they were prepared entirely from scratch. You could taste every grain of rice and every bite was so flavorful and perfectly al dente. I find that the risottos in North America are typically over cooked, prepared from pre-cooked risotto batches, and made with WAY too much butter and cheese. I swear that some restaurants even use cream in their risottos. Now, I’m not the type of person who cringes when a traditional dish is prepared in a different, unique way, but I do hold a negative opinion when the final product does not taste as good.
Anyway, one of the things I like about making risotto is that if you have the right ingredients, and a good home made broth, the result will always turn out great. Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, risotto is actually not all that labour intensive. Sure it takes a long time to cook, especially when you’re preparing several servings at once, but there seems to be a whole misconception of stirring the risotto. People seem to think that you really need to stand in front of the pot and stir every second from start to finish, but I’ll let you in on a secret (which isn’t really a secret if you’ve made risotto several times before). You basically only need to stir risotto near the end of the cooking process. This is when most of the starches have come out of the rice and this is when the risotto can burn and stick very easily if left unattended. During the first half of the process though, you can really just come in and stir every once in a while. So I actually find cooking risotto great, because I can do the dishes while starting the cooking process.
Today I prepared a lamb risotto with zucchinis, and served it with some fried shallots and garlic chips for some crispy texture. I had some left over rack of lamb pieces and I marinated them overnight in olive oil, smoked sea salt, coarse pepper, garlic powder, and some smoked paprika, rosemary and thyme. I took the pieces out the next day, deboned them, and threw the bones into some home made chicken broth to add some more lambiness into the dish. Once I fried the shallots & garlic, I set them aside on a paper towel to drain. I then started the risotto in the typical way (saute onions, add rice, deglaze with white wine, add stock, etc.). While the risotto was cooking, I washed the dishes and also seared the lamb pieces rare and then let them rest on my cutting board. I proceeded to chop the lamb into small cubes which would be reheated briefly in a pan just before the risotto was complete. Once the risotto was al dente and seasoned, I removed it off the heat and added freshly grated parmigiano reggianno. To plate, simply spoon the risotto onto the bottom of a dish, top with a generous portion of the cubed, heated lamb, and sprinkle the crispy shallots & garlic chips over top. This was a perfect dish to go with a perfect start to Spring.