An attempt at making Risotto

This weekend got away from me. I had plans to relax. I had plans to read the Sunday NY Times. I had plans to read my book. I had plans to go to the Art Institute. I had plans to paint. But I got caught up in the usual grind and that was that.

The silver lining to all this is that Asha and I still had a lot of fun. We went out for long strolls and enjoyed the sunshine after so many chilly days. We also had a good time in the kitchen. She indulges me by listening to me pretend that I have a cooking show and then tasted everything I made while smacking her lips. She makes everything fun.

I have tried many times before to make risotto but each time the result has been too bland or too dry or too mushy. This time I didn’t use a recipe and instead decided to let the butter do it’s thing. The result was deliciously smooth and creamy. And of course tasty as evident by my little taste tester.

Mushroom and Pea Risotto

1 cup Arborio Rice
3 cups boiling water
1/3 cup good drinking white wine
1 cup mushrooms; sliced
1/2 cup onions; diced 
1 tbsp garlic; chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup spinach; chopped
5-6 tbsp butter
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
A cute little baby assistant

Put a pot of water to boil. In a heavy skillet or a dutch oven, add 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp olive oil. Add onions and mushrooms and sweat for 4-5 minutes on medium low heat. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so until garlic is fragrant. Push the mixer to the sides of the skillet and make a well in the middle. Add 2 tbsp of butter plus 2 tbsp of olive oil in the well. Add the rice and let the oil coat each grain. Once this is done, mix the rice with the mushrooms and the onions on the side. Add white wine and let the whole thing simmer. Once the wine is absorbed, add water 1/4 cup at a time. Keep stirring since this helps develop the starchiness and creaminess.  The heat should be medium to medium high so that the whole mixer is constantly on a gentle simmer. Stop adding water when the rice is done but still has a bite to it. Lower the heat and add the peas and spinach. Cover and cook till the peas heat up and cook through; about 3-4 minutes. If the rice looks too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water with the peas and spinach. Add the cheese and the remaining butter. Taste and add pepper and salt. 

Good for 4 people with a salad or for 2.5 very hungry people. 
Enjoy and let me know how it turns out!

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, NC. She writes about everything from travel, food, books, and family. Her current project includes a series of children's books to teach Hindi. She is a native Tar Heel who has also lived in Washington DC and Chicago.

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