For those who are in the process of designing their timetables for next semester, I must stress NOT to commit the dumb mistake of placing all your tutorials on the same day the way I did this semester. While it may seem awfully tempting to place everything on the same day to get it over and done with, on the off occasion where you have an assessment due in every subject in a week, well...you know that feeling you get when you get punched in the face? Yeah, well it feels something like that.
Anyway, DW and WW came over on Sunday for a bit of lunch and a groupwork session to knock over an assessment. For me, it was simply another excuse to whip up something good to share.
It's been so long since I've made risotto, so I decided early in the morning to go out and gather some great ingredients for my dish.
Risotto is actually a lot easier to make than most people think. All it requires is a bit of patience and constant stirring. Fresh ingredients also make a huge difference to the taste as you shouldn't really need to add other seasoning if you can get it right.
You can see the ingredients in the above picture. I wouldn't be myself if I had remembered to set up everything at the time of taking the picture, so I'm going to tell you now that the onion, tomato paste, canned tomato and garlic are all M.I.A.
First chop the chicken up. For the purposes of this recipe, use chicken breast as it has a firmer texture and less oil to contrast the creamy risotto. If you're worried about the toughness of the breast fillet - don't be. The gentle cooking process in liquid will help prevent the breast from drying out too much.
I also like to lightly coat the chicken in a bit of flour and brown the pieces before I throw them into the risotto. I like my meat slightly brown. Don't question it.
Oh, and feel free to use butter instead of olive oil. I was simply following orders from the Angel.
Next, just saute your onion and garlic as you would any other dish. When the onion is transparent, throw the arborio rice into the pan. Coat the rice in the oil and this will start the cooking process on the rice. The rice will begin to turn transparent (though the centre of each grain will still have a very obvious white spot). This is when you start adding stock.
As Huey says, add the stock in gradually. This means you pour a small amount in, stir the rice around and let it soak up the liquid, then add a bit more. You'll notice when to stop as the rice will eventually reach its saturation point and will stop soaking up all the liquid. This is your cue to pour the rest of the stock in.
And yes, I did burn my onion a little. I was preoccupied with getting the camera settings right. Just pretend you don't see the little black specks floating around.
Then add the canned tomato, chicken, sundried tomato, a portion of chopped basil and tomato paste. Your pot should look like red rice soup at this point, but smell like absolute heaven. I know this because WW was hovering over my stove trying to obtain a whiff of the smell.
Cover and bring to a simmer.
Depending on your rice, your stove and the pan/pot you're using, you may need to add more stock. Also, because of the starch content of the rice, it will stick to the bottom of the pan (especially if you're using stainless steel). I stirred everything roughly once every 2~5 minutes as it was simmering away. Once the mixture becomes thicker, and the rice looks plump with liquid, give it a test to see if the rice is done. If it is still hard, then add more stock and continue cooking.
Rinse and repeat this process. I don't think I've ever done a good pot of risotto without it.
Once the rice is cooked, turn the heat off and stir in the remaining basil, cream and grated parmesan. I STRESS the stirring part or your cream will curdle. Alternatively, you could let it cool slightly, but given that it's Winter here, I decided to just do a vigorous stir as I poured the cream in.
Garnish with a basil if you can be bothered. But generally speaking, it'll be too hard holding your guests/family off because all they'll be wanting to do is smacking their entire face into the risotto and nom it up good.
I needed my photo, so I resorted to feeding the hungry souls first so they can leave me to take my shots in peace.
Creamy Chicken and Sundried Tomato Risotto to Die For
1 Large Chicken Breast, roughly sliced
350g Arborio rice
80g Sundried Tomato, sliced
1 Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
3 cups Chicken Stock (+1 cup extra)
300g Canned Tomatoes
2 tblsp Tomato Paste
1/4 cup Basil, roughly chopped
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup Pouring Cream
Flour, for coating chicken
Olive Oil for cooking
- In a frying pan, brown the chicken breast lightly in batches. Don't overcrowd the pan.
- Remove and drain on paper towel
- In a separate saute pan, saute the onion with some garlic and olive oil
- Add rice and saute until rice turns a little transparent
- Pour in stock gradually (not including the extra allowance), allowing rice to completely absorb liquid before adding more in
- Add the chicken, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, sundried tomato and 1 tblsp of chopped basil in the pan. Bring to simmer and cover
- Stir the risotto every 2~5minutes ensuring the mix does not catch on the bottom of the pot
- Cook for 30minutes or until rice is tender, adding extra stock if needed
- Turn off heat and add cream, parmesan and remaining basil
- Serve with extra parmesan, cracked pepper and garnish with fresh basil