Sunday, October 17, 2010

NOMS -- Parmesan-Carrot Risotto

A colleague at work gave me this recipe some time ago, and I finally got around to making it. I only have a photocopy, so I can't credit the original cookbook or magazine from whence it came.

Here's the original recipe with my comments interspersed:
Instead of using the pricier traditional Arborio rice, we experimented with long-grain white rice in this risotto. Surprise! It yields results that are just as creamy and delicious. [kxm: I had some Arborio rice, but it was old and had gone rancid, so I also used long-grain white rice, and I'm not disappointed in the results.]
  • 2 - 14.5oz cans of broth [kxm: I used homemade vegetable stock & cubes b/c I was low]  
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 medium carrots, grated
  • coarse salt & ground pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups long grain white rice (or Arborio)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I didn't have this on hand, so I used stock with a couple of capfuls of lemon juice in it)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan 

1) In a saucepan, bring broth and 2 cups water to barely a simmer over medium heat.

2) In a large saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper [kxm: I used lemon pepper and recommend it if you have it on hand.] Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in rice. Add wine [or stock w/lemon juice]; cook, stirring, until absorbed, 1-2 minutes.

3)  Add 2 cups broth; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until mostly absorbed before adding more.  Cook until rice is creamy and just tender, about 20 minutes (you may not need all the broth) [kxm: I probably had 1/2 cup left].

4) Remove risotto from heat. Stir in parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter and season with salt and pepper.

I am not entirely sure, but I suspect that I had a lot more carrots than maybe I was supposed to, as my 'medium' carrots were pretty big. As such, and because I really like Parmesan, I probably used more like 1/3 - 1/2 a cup of cheese.  For a time saver, I grated the onion in the food processor with the carrots and then just dumped it all into the pan.

If you are looking to save calories, you could probably use a lighter calorie oil instead of butter and/or forgo the last tablespoon with the cheese.

This was easier than I anticipated, and I'm not displeased with the results at all. Thanks, Inky!

BTW -- If you are reading this as a Facebook note, I recommend clicking on the "View original post" link to see it as it should be displayed.

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Why is this place called Rough Branch?

Rough Branch is a reference to Wendell Berry's "mad farmer" poems. Berry is an agrarian populist poet, and advocate for sustainable agricultural practices. I don't agree with every position he takes, but his reverence for the beauty and balance of the natural world, for the preciousness of the life that runs through it (including our own), and of the community that sustains both the land and each other, speaks to my heart.

Over the past few years, I have sunk myself into the soil in my back yard, and into the community of neighbors that surrounds it, and it has begun to restore me. My garden is not just a plot of dirt providing vegetables for the salad bowl, it is an act of love, a place of profundity and awe. If you knew about the ecosystem that lives in but one gram of good earth, you would be humbled, literally, to the ground.

Berry's poems are passionate calls to live--deeply, profoundly, fearlessly. To step out of narrow-minded egotism, to secede "[f]rom the union of self-gratification and self-annihilation, [to] secede into care for one another, and for the good gifts of Heaven and Earth."

And so I have made my own nation small enough to walk across. I have named the small corner of the earth I steward Rough Branch. I have declared myself free of ignorant love, and I secede...

From the union of power and money,
from the union of power and secrecy,
from the union of government and art,
from the union of science and money,
from the union of ambition and ignorance,
from the union of genius and war,
from the union of outer space and inner vacuity,
the Mad Farmer walks quietly away.

There is only one of him, but he goes.
He returns to the small country he calls home,
his own nation small enough to walk across.
(From "The Mad Farmer, Flying the Flag of Rough Branch, Secedes from the Union")
The Mad Farmer challenges us to reconnect, to resurrect our land, our communities, and our souls.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
(From "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front")
All quotes from Wendell Berry.