I love risotto and the creaminess of it that comes from the starch in the Arborio rice (at least I assume that's mostly where it comes from). I love risotto so much that even when my coworkers give me disgusting images of why they don't like risotto (that I won't repeat here in an effort to sustain the risotto love), I still love it. I've only made it once, so I figured it was time again. I used my homemade vegetable stock, Giada De Laurentiis's basic risotto recipe, and some of my favourite veggies (sweet potato - not yams!, beets, and peas). I baked the yams and beets together for about 45 minutes with no oil (yes I'm sure they would've been more tasty with oil but this was a small effort to be healthy). They were a bit dry but once added to the risotto, totally fine. I've never baked beets before and while they still had their delicious beet essence, I much prefer them boiled (where they end up more succulent and tender). Maybe if I had tossed the beets in oil before baking them they would've turned out differently but I doubt they would've been as good as when boiled. I added frozen peas at the end and just stirred the risotto around a bit to heat them up.
I had quite the ordeal with the wine because first, I couldn't find the white wine, second, I couldn't find the bottle opener, and third, once I found the bottle opener I had no idea how to use and wasn't sure if the cork was ever going to come out and when it did if I was going to jab myself in the eye. But it came out and my eye is intact. And the wine smelled so delicious when added to the risotto, so it was all worthwhile.
I think one of the reasons I haven't made risotto more often is because of the $5 it costs for a small bag at Safeway (if they have it in stock). When I went to Eat Vancouver several weeks ago, Bosa Foods had a stall set up (well actually it was more like a mini store) selling a selection of Italian food items. I picked up a box of Arborio rice for about $3, which ends up being about half the price of the rice at Safeway. I haven't been to the actual Bosa Foods store yet, but apparently their new one on Kootenay St is huge.
562 Victoria Dr & 1465 Kootenay St
Giada's recipe is for basic/plain risotto, so you can feel free to add whatever vegetables, meat (wait why did a vegetarian just suggest meat...), or cheese (probably only hard cheese like Parmesan and Asiago?) to it that you want. It's best to cook the vegetables separate from the rice so they don't get mushy. As for how much of each to add, it's up to you but for this amount of risotto, I did one sweet potato, one beet, and about half a cup of peas. I should've used some of the leftover risotto to try making risotto cakes (risotto that's been shaped into patties and then pan fried) or maybe deep fried risotto balls with mozzarella on the inside (I think I saw that on Emeril).
(Adapted from Everyday Italian)
4 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth a simmer. Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat. (My note: this is a really important step, because it will take forever for the broth to incorporate into the rice if it's not already hot.)
In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender but now brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and the salt and pepper. Serve immediately.