Uncle Tommy’s Risotto

The key to a good risotto is to not let your guests know how much butter and cheese you’re putting in. While it requires a lot of stirring and timing, risotto has been one of my favorite dishes to make. Not only is it delicious but it can be combined with just about any meat, fish, and vegetable while maintaining it’s rich and creamy flavor. This time, I added some shrimp and asparagus. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Box of dried arborio rice (probably around 2 pounds)
  2. Freshly cut up asparagus
  3. Small shrimp
  4. A diced up shallot or onion
  5. Chicken/vegetable stock (about 50-60 oz)
  6. Dry white wine (about 1 cup)
  7. Butter (about 2 sticks)
  8. Grated parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
  9. Freshly minced garlic (2 cloves)
  10. Freshly chopped parsley to mix in at the end

It really depends on how much you want to make but cooking up the 2 pound box will feed about 6 people especially if there’s shrimp and asparagus in there. I have not yet mastered how to cook anything in small quantities so anytime the stove is lighting up, expect enough food to feed a small army. All it costs you is a bottle of wine or a 6 pack at the door.

 

Instructions

1. Start by heating up the onion or shallot in a deep pot with some butter and the minced garlic. Let that soften but not brown and then add in the full portion of arborio rice. Try using the pot below. It’s stainless steel so don’t worry about scratching it plus the top on it helps keep the moisture in whatever you’re cooking.

Stainless Steel Pot w/ Top

2. Now toss in the arborio rice to toast in the hot pot. Keep stirring so all of the rice gets the flavoring and then add in your wine. The next few steps should be done on high heat or it will take way too long to cook.

3. A trick Uncle Tommy taught me was to make sure the broth you’re adding is already heated so it won’t slow down the cooking process of the rice. Try heating up the broth in a separate pot and it should cut down on your cook time. Slowly add in your chicken stock while continuing to stir the rice nonstop. You really can’t let the rice sit in the pot for more than 10-15 seconds at a time or it will stick to the bottom of the pot. Keep adding in your chicken stock in small amounts and once you see it absorbed by the rice, add more in. As you do this, add in small amounts of butter as well to melt into the risotto.

4. Start sautĂ©ing your asparagus in a separate pan with some olive oil. That may take some time to soften so be patient and don’t burn them. As the risotto begins to become softer and almost done, you can add your shrimp to cook quickly.

5 .Keep tasting the risotto as you go making sure it has the right soft texture. The big thing is to not let it dry out in the pot either. That’s why you need so much chicken stock. As you get to the end, you can begin adding in your parmesan cheese in small amounts, stirring continuously. When the rice feels soft, check for taste. You’ll know whether it needs more cheese, butter, salt, or pepper.

6. Now, take it off the heat and mix in your asparagus and shrimp until it is becomes one whole dish.

 

Beer Pairing

I took a trip to a new brewery this weekend. Untied Brewing Company in New Providence, NJ offers a plethora of beer types while maintaining high quality throughout their list. A lot of new breweries that open try to get too bold and make a ton of different beers without making anyone desire a second glass. Quality is more important than variety and I’m happy to say this brewery really accomplished both. I went down the list of IPAs and all were fantastic. Their Irish stout was rich and refreshing as well. I highly recommend this place for any of you beer snobs. Here’s their toasty New England IPA.

 

Non Cooking Thoughts 

a. The way major league baseball handles free agency needs a revolution. In what world can Jacoby Ellsbury make $21 million while Aaron Judge is taking home $622K? I think it’s important these guys get chances to make more money earlier in their careers so when they hit free agency they don’t feel like they need to hit a $300 million contract. Not one organization wants to pay these guys for 10 years because anyone with a clue knows damn well the last 5 years of that contract with be ruined by injuries, lackluster performance, and a handcuff on the franchise’s financials. If I’m Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, give me $40 million a year for 4 years and teams would be jumping on that type of offer. A win win for both.

 

b. Anyone that feels like the federal or state taxes are not high enough are welcome to send the IRS more of their money to help contribute. Seriously. You can send a check to the IRS as a request to pay more taxes if you feel like that’s what is fair. What, you don’t want to do that? It’s not fair? Oh, ok.

 

c. This is the picture my Uncle Dennis sends me from Florida. Must be nice to enjoy the beach 12 months a year!

 

Farewell Quote

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to satisfy everyone. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

-Thomas Sowell