Flavor Trips: First Risotto
“An offer they can’t refuse,” an over-quoted phrase from that movie we all know, was also the name of yesterday’s February 2nd, 2011 episode of Top Chef All-Stars. Last Sunday, the husband and I happened to see a commercial for the episode. Scenes from the upcoming episode revealed that it would feature an Italian challenge, and we caught a quick glimpse of lovely Lorraine Bracco’s face among the elimination challenge diners. We decided right away that dinner on Wednesday would match Top Chef’s theme.
For drinking, we had an ’05 Bracco Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. I chose to make a mushroom risotto as I wanted to prepare something traditional that I hadn’t done before; the husband chose to pair it with pan-roasted cod. We cook at home almost every evening, but planning an impromptu themed dinner inspired by a food show we love was lots of fun. I ultimately experienced much self-doubt however, over the consistency of my risotto, wondering whether I had done the classic Italian rice dish justice. I followed a recipe, but I’m guessing I could have added more liquid than I did, because I don’t think there was enough of that …creamy sauciness… on the plate; I think it should have been a tad more liquidy than it was. We also didn’t eat it right away–hubby prepared the fish afterward, so the risotto did sit longer than we expected. We’ll have to work on timing of the dishes–easier said than done in our tiny kitchen where we often crowd each other out and lack counter space. In any case, it tasted wonderful, had a creamy mouth feel, and had great flavor. It was a worthy first attempt, but I’ve got more practice to do and admit that I’m now hell-bent on getting it right. Dear spouse, consider yourself forewarned. And to my friend dohhead–a pastry chef and food connoisseur who kindly reminded me to add the dry white for the initial liquid addition over the rice–expect questions.
I highly recommend matching your meals to your shows and movies–it’s a fun project. Ideas and suggestions for theme nights are welcome, as is risotto advice. Top Chef themed dinners–I hope to have more of them. That said, I’m trying not to read into the fact that Tre got sent home last night for making bad risotto.