Thursday, 7 June 2012

Chicken, Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Has Masterchef scared the absolute crackers out of you when it comes to making risotto? Are you like me and a total rice phobe? Never fear because like most things it really isn't as hard as it appears.

I remember making risotto once in home economics when I was in high school but haven't made it the traditional way since then. In fact once I had bought my microwave rice cooker, saving myself the trauma of absorption methods, cluggy rice and that layer that just always seems to stick the bottom of the pan, I begun to make risotto in the microwave.

Now that I have a decent cast iron pan I thought I would give my favourite risotto a go using the stove top method. Proof that if I can do it then anyone can.

125gm butter
500gm chicken breast - diced
1 large onion - diced
200gm mushrooms - sliced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
150ml white wine
1 litre chicken stock
1 bunch asparagus - cut into 2cm pieces
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 bunch baby spinach
1 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Pour the stock into a medium saucepan over a low heat. Let gently simmer while you prepare the rest of the dish.

2. In a large heavy based pan, heat a table spoon of olive oil. Cook the chicken until browned all over. Remove the chicken and set aside. Melt half the butter in the pan, add the onion and mushrooms. Cook until soft but not browned. Add the arborio rice and coat well with the butter, cook for a few minutes until rice appears translucent. Pour in the wine, coating the rice well. Cook until wine is absorbed.

3. Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir until absorbed. Continue adding the hot stock, one ladle full at a time, stirring continuously until all the stock is absorbed by the rice. This should take approximately 20 minutes. Add the asparagus before the last few ladles of stock. Rice should be creamy but still with a slight bite to it.

4. Add the cooked chicken into the rice. Stir in the lemon rind, spinach and half the Parmesan cheese. Add the remaining half of the butter and mix until melted. Season with pepper and salt if needed.

5. Spoon into bowls. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

For a vegetarian option:
Leave the chicken out and replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.

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