Writings on curious recipes, food I've tasted around the world and the quest for finding the perfect blueberry muffin.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Onion and parmesan risotto and some exciting news

About a month ago Katharina asked me if she could interview me and feature Little Miss Dids on the Hotel Wiesler Blog. It took me all of 0.5 seconds to think that one through and answer with a very flattered yes. And so, a few days later, she sent me the questions.

Apart from realizing that the last proper thing I've written in German was for my end of high school exam (aka a really long time ago) and that I have since forgotten how to write coherent, non-South-Tyrolean-dialect-tainted German sentences (okay, maybe that's slightly exaggerated, but it took me longer to write up than I care to admit), the questions made me reflect on my cooking style, influences and favorite ingredients and dishes. 

One of the questions that really made me think, was the simple question of which dish I've probably cooked most often. 

The thing is, once I feel like I got the dish right (and it's blog-worthy), I rarely - if ever - make it again. My sister can confirm this - the only time I grant her her beloved Spargelstrudel is on her birthday - even though she begs me all year-round. I'm not trying to be mean, it's just with 100s of recipes bookmarked, food magazines stacked high, and more cookbook pages marked than I can ever actually get to, I simply feel like there's not enough time! to make things twice.

That being said, I like making variations of certain types of dishes. Quiches and tarts, different lasagne and pasta sauces, risotto. I really like making risotto.

The thing about risotto, is that it never tastes exactly the same. Even with the same ingredients, it will taste slightly different every time - depending on the stock and wine you use, the size of the knob of butter or handful of parmesan going in. So even though it's familiar, there's always an element of surprise.

I also love risotto because there's something so comforting about it. The slight creaminess and richness, the warmth it exudes, is enough to make any rainy, long and cold day seem a lot less dull. And finally, I really enjoy the process of making risotto. I love the constant stirring - I find it so relaxing - therapeutic, even.

So, yes. I'd say the dish I probably make most often is risotto. And while you can make it with whatever vegetable happens to be in season - right now, I'm sure an artichoke risotto would be lovely - in the winter, radicchio and salsiccia would work great - I have to say, the other day we had nothing in the fridge except for a humble onion and a nice chunk of parmesan cheese.

My sister might have said it was the best risotto she's ever eaten. 

My verdict? Well, I always say, all good things start with an onion, and that everything tastes better with a grating of parmesan cheese, so really, how could I not love this one? 

Possibly, my favorite risotto to date.

For more on my love of onions and the passion behind this blog, check out the interview on the Hotel Wiesler Blog (in German). Thank you again for having me! :-)

Onion and parmesan risotto
This dish pretty much sums up my cooking philosophy: you don't need lots of (fancy) ingredients to make something spectacular - a few simple, good ingredients go a long way. Trust me on this one.

My tips for a great risotto: have everything measured out and prepared before you start; use good quality ingredients (good stock, wine, rice, parmesan); stir, stir, stir; lots of love. ;)


30g of butter + an additional knob of butter for stirring in at the end
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
220g of risotto rice (such as Carnaroli, Arborio)
1/2 cup of good quality white wine (I used a Pinot Bianco)
1.1 liters of good quality vegetable stock (brought up to the boil, and then kept warm, at the back of the stove)
40g of parmesan cheese, grated
Salt, pepper and thyme


Melt butter in a saucepan over moderate heat, add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add rice, and toast for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine, and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Then add a ladle-full of stock, continue to stir until all liquid has been absorbed. Then add the next ladle-full. Continue this process, stirring as you go, always waiting for the stock to be fully absorbed, before adding the next ladle-full, until the rice is just tender (the rice should be cooked, but still have some bite to it). It'll take around 20 minutes and you might not need all the liquid. Remove the pot from the heat, add a nice knob of butter, and the parmesan cheese and stir. Taste. You might not need any salt, but add a nice grinding of pepper and a little bit of fresh thyme.

Enjoy immediately!


Matrjoschki said...

Oh Jenna, das Interview ist ja richtig toll geworden und das obwohl's auf deutsch war! :)

Liebe Grüße nach Bozen, London oder wo du eben grad bist ;)

littlemissdids said...

Danke meine Liebe!! Voll lieb von dir! :) Grüße zurück! Hoff euch gehts gut!! :)

wedding venues South Florida said...

Aside from the natural antioxidants contained in onions, the crop also contains natural sweetening elements that come with a very strong scent. Adding more of this as ingredient to the risotto is really a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

catering Fort Lauderdale said...

For those who want to try something new with the way they prepare risotto, this recipe is worth trying out. What I like about this dish is that it is healthy at the same time the combination of aroma and taste goes perfectly well.

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