Sunday, October 28, 2012

Red Wine Risotto

(3-4 servings)

It's been damp and cold the past few days so I picked the last of my pomegranates this weekend. The crop was rather small this year, primarily because of the severe drought we've had. Nonetheless I was thrilled to harvest anything at all. I have been snacking on my precious pomegranates over the course of a few weeks now and sadly this will be it until next year.

Although I fired up the furnace yesterday, my feet have been cold despite the two layers of socks as well as slippers I have been wearing around the house.I finally drew a hot bath and spent nearly an hour in the tub thawing out and reading. By the time I was dressed I didn't feel like making muffins as I'd planned on for today. No, my thoughts were on lunch and all I could think about was risotto. Determined to stay inside where it was toasty and warm, I used what I had on hand, resulting in this tasty red wine risotto.

2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 cups dry red wine
2 1/2 - 3 cups beef broth, heated and kept warm
1 cup small frozen peas
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Set a large skillet over a medium-low flame and melt the butter. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or until it becomes fragrant. Stir in the onions and stirring frequently, saute them until they become translucent.

Stir in the rice and cook for another 2 minutes or so, then stir in 1/2 cup of wine. When most of the wine has been absorbed into the rice, add more wine, half a cup at a time, each time stirring it into the rice until it's been absorbed. Continue to add the wine until it's used up, followed by the beef broth (1/2 cup at a time). When you have about 2 cups of broth remaining, start checking the rice to see how tender it is. When the risotto is ready it will be tender and creamy on the outside with a slight "bite" to the centre. This usually takes about 25-35 minutes.

When the rice is close to being done, stir in the frozen peas. Cook for a few minutes until they have heated through. Stir in the half and half as well as the Parmesan cheese. Check and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

To serve, sprinkle with the reserved cheese and dust with more cracked pepper if desired.

Note: You might have a small amount of broth left or you might need more liquid. If you need more liquid, use more broth if you have it, or use water; either will be fine.

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