Most of the recipes over at Food Network have difficulty ratings and such, ie. beginner, intermediate, wtf were you thinking levels. I saw the wild mushroom and asparagus risotto and thought, man, that would be fun! This recipe had no rating though which made me worried. I constantly see people on Hell’s Kitchen who can’t make decent risotto and luckily my ego is massive so I knew I could pull it off. The rating however should have an ADHD warning because babysitting the food is NOT my specialty.
I actually had all my ingredients out and ready to go (I was surprised to). I put my chicken broth / wine on to warm and got my asparagus going. I sauteed my shrooms, after I called Betsy and asked how to cook them. Speaking of… Alton’s recipes are… not so great. He really seems to take that leap that you already have some idea of what you are doing. Sweating onions for example…
/call Betsy, “I’m sweating but I don’t know how to make the onions do it!”
I put my butter in the pan for the onions to start melting before I put them in. My knife skills aren’t great and I burned the shit out of the butter before I got the onions ready. WOW! Is that a NASTY smell. I browned the onions edges a bit (you aren’t supposed to) but like Betsy says, “brown = flavor”, like brownies and Italians.
I got the arborio rice in the onions and going without a hitch. I got my first amount of liquid in and stirred in. I got my second batch in and started stirring and stirring…
Then I got bored. I made a glass of wine (couldn’t waste that bottle) and pulled up a stool so I could just sit there and stir while I got liquored up.
I sat down and realized I should have been stirring! I saw a few brown’d pieces of rice. Ugh, I was starting to get afraid. I put in some more liquid and kept stirring, day dreaming of a time when I wasn’t making risotto.
Did you know there were videos on some of the recipes that you could watch? I didn’t! Daemia informed me of it on one of his blog posts and thank some hot greek god that I watched the risotto one, I would have had no idea of when to add more liquid if I hadn’t. The instructions said it should take all the liquid to hydrate the pasta so I guess I wasn’t ladeling in big enough scoops. As my 3rd batch was done absorbing I added my asparagus and shrooms BEFORE I tasted it… that’s when I made my first big mistake. I tasted it and wham, the rice was definitely not done. I realized I had a bunch of liquid left as well so I just said fuck it and poured what was left into the rice.
The liquid level was twice what it should be and I had already put the other ingredients in too early so I was already deciding what I was going to have for dinner instead. I txt’d Betsy and she saved me some lasagna woo hoo! I turned up the heat cuz I wanted to at least try to finish it. I turned it into a game of stirring with my left hand and picking out scorched rice kernels with my right one.
All the water FINALLY got absorbed / boiled down and amazingly… it didn’t taste bad. I added in my parm and nutmeg and lemon zest (I bought a zester / grater for $2!). I even seasoned it, holy fuck.
It tasted… meh.
I see people bitch in the recipe comments about how it turned out horrible but they went and changed things all willy nilly. I’m not talking about just leaving something out like the asparagus because you don’t like it or substituting one small thing. I’m talking about the people that nix 2 or 3 ingredients or change shit left and right and then complain that it was a poor dish.
Of course it was… you didn’t make anything resembling the final product!
That’s why I ignored most of the comments on the post that said the lemon flavor was overkill. They had changed several ingredients and I figured that their changes caused the lemon flavor to come out far more than it should have.
They were right… /growl.
The first bites are good and the more you eat the more the lemon flavor starts to linger. The lemon zest doesn’t even get put in until the end and I served it right away which surprised me at just how insane it spreads. Easily could do half of the required amount or less and get what you need I’m sure.
By the time I was done I had a bottle of wine (minus a cup) and was too drunk to remember to take a picture. I’m willing to try risotto again in the future though because I did get my rice cooked perfectly (especially once I picked out all the scorched chunks). Risotto is far easier than I expected.
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