13 – Jamie Oliver’s Risotto Bianco

gnocchi and risotto 007
Being as dinner was half an hour late, and being served to guests, this is literally the second-best picture of the risotto. (Not pictured: the risotto)

Yesterday morning, I arrived at work for 4:50 a.m. in a desperate attempt to finish my report cards on time. I consumed two large coffees over the course of the day (two more than I usually drink) and a Red Bull energy drink. I left work early, already having put in nearly 4 hours of extra time (I had a prep block last thing, so I didn’t leave a class teacher-less). I then went straight from work to my parent’s house to visit my sisters, nieces and nephew (read: babysit my sister’s kids while they spent time without me) before finally heading to the grocery store.

Flash forward to my wife arriving home late at 9 p.m. after having picked up overtime at a public meeting. She tells me about her long day; I tell her about mine. She tells me about how Abbotsford’s fire chief let her sit in in his big red truck (her face lighting up like a little kid); I mention all the groceries I picked up for tonight’s lasagna. She then reminds me that we agreed I’d make chicken tonight…

So, clearly I was a bit tired last night when I attempted to prepare for tonight’s dinner. In addition to an extra early, extra rushed day at work – as well as unplanned babysitting at my parent’s – I re-tackled the beer-battered fish recipe and attempted homemade gnocchi (to be posted in the near future). As much of a rock star as I felt like yesterday, I couldn’t manage to remember what I was going to make when hosting my cousin tonight, and ended up with a bunch of unnecessary ingredients I need to use up shortly.

Oh well, as they say: “all’s well that ends well” – and tonight ended very well.

gnocchi and risotto 009
The spread. I really need to find a better dish for serving asparagus.

In addition making the previously agreed upon emmental-stuffed chicken, I made the title dish: Jamie Oliver’s Risotto Bianco,  as well as Martha Stewart’s Garlicky Roasted Asparagus.

I’d made risotto once before, but with the closest type of rice I could find at the time, a basic short grain. My wife liked it, but said it wasn’t a true risotto – too cheesy; just a bit different from the restaurant quality stuff she’s had in the past. This time I used Arborio rice (read: proper risotto rice) and leaned on the expertise of Mr. Oliver. I absolutely loved the final result, and am very much looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.

My modifications:

– I used a food processor to quickly slice and dice the vegetables. Being only the second time I’ve ever used this piece of machinery, I ended up going overboard and making a very wet puree out of the veggies. I thought this was a mistake, but it didn’t seem to detract from the dish in any way.

– I used less broth than was called for, as the recipe wanted me to use 1.1L and that would have meant opening two cartons of broth, when one was almost enough (950ml).

– I’m pretty sure I cooked it longer than was called for, attempting to let enough liquid evaporate

In summary, this dish was well-received. The asparagus was nice, and the chicken was it’s usual delicious self, but the risotto was the definite winner. If you have some time (and an appetite for deliciousness) then I highly recommend you try it.

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