Though I normally reserve Fridays for frozen pizza and red wine, the (rudely) cold weather called for something a little heartier, and something that might do me a solid if I decided to go above my two-drink maximum.
I chose a risotto recipe that I got from my fancy friend Lilliam, who should be emulated in all kitchens everywhere, and dress it up with some Friday-friendly shrimp and asparagus. Risotto is a fancy-sounding dish that is easy to make if you have 45 minutes to spend stirring.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and a few table tricks that made my mid-move apartment seem slightly homier than the construction site that it is. Bon apetit!
The risotto itself is delicious, but as with all things, butter makes everything better.
With minimal preparation, setting the half of the table that wasn't piled up with boxes and casual dining dishes added an element of preparedness when, truthfully, I took a two-hour nap after work. A personal preference - all white dishes are the best things you can buy - they match everything. The napkins? TJ Maxx!
Chalkboard cups (Solo ones don't count unless your main dish is a keg of Busch Lite) are an easy way to assign seats without seeming controlling - because as you know, I'm not controlling.
A sign of a good friend is one that knows what white wine you would pick to pair with a seafood dish - how lucky I am to have a friend who knows that Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is items one through five on my list of favorite things.
Lilliam's Risotto Recipe
You may be more comfortable in the kitchen than I am, but if you're a novice, the best thing you can do is follow recipes. Food network-watchers always try to get creative with spices and end up making something interesting... definitely interesting. I follow Lilliam's dummy-proof instructions to the letter, and recommend that you do, too.
5 cups vegetable stock (chicken stock will work)
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup plus 2 tblsp arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
2 tblsp butter
Bring the vegetable / chicken stock to simmer in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to very low and keep warm. Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice to onion and garlic, stir for about one minute. Add wine and stir until absorbed (about 30 seconds).
Add the simmering broth to the onion, garlic and rice 1/3 cup at a time (this is important - don't just dump it all in). Simmer until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, allowing each 1/3 cup of broth to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring often. Once all the stock is added, remove from heat. Mix in the butter and parmesan cheese and season generously with salt and pepper.
Ok, I know I told you not to mess with Lilliam's recipe, and hope you didn't... BUT. If you like some flavors more, be generous. I happen to like wine, cheese and butter like any good, corn-fed Midwestern girl, so I go a little heavier on that.
Also, for last night's risotto, under Lilliam's advice, I added the juice of one lemon, some shrimp (I used frozen) and roasted asparagus. Not bad, if I do say so myself.