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Sunday, September 11, 2011


Does anybody follow this on Google reader, or something like that? If so, do you get deleted posts to the feed? Blogger keeps getting confused (or rather, not notifying me of its intentions in an obvious way) about what I am writing where, so things I blog on my writing-about-church-music blog keep popping up here by mistake, which is probably kind of weird for everybody (and actually kind of weird for me too, because I don't intend people to be reading about the effectiveness of chapel services when they were expecting a cookie recipe. Not that you're not welcome to read my blog, if you're interested in that sort of thing.) Anyway, uh, kind of embarrassed now. Like the time I was using gmail to draft some half-thought out responses to a house thread and discovered that tab-return can cause you to send it! That was bad. Anyway I am bad at things.

Friday, September 9, 2011

mushroom risotto

The first time I had risotto, I had no idea what it was. i was at the time (and here my prep school is showing) on a school trip to the Metropolitan Opera, which included lunch at the Met restaurant--which was for me at that time one of the fancier places I'd ever been to. I ordered the special, somewhat on a whim, and was a bit surprised to have it come in a bowl rather than a glamourous plate--a bowl of rice and peas and button mushrooms and baby onions and veal, all tied together with what I thought was gravy. It was rich and creamy and utterly delectable as well as utterly filling, so that I spent a rather long time pecking at it for the sake of my tastebuds even while my stomach told me I was done. Eventually I was told I had to stop, because I was preventing everyone else from getting dessert; and since we had an opera to go to, I couldn't very well box the remainder, and it went away. I think I recall this singular meal much better than the opera.

I hadn't thought about that dish much since; but today in the grocery store I happened to spy a box of arborio-style rice and thought "What *is* risotto? I should try to make it!". So I bought it.
Here is how one makes risotto (2 portions)
Fry up a smallish onion in a large skillet, or a saucepan. When it is soft, put in 3/4 cup of risotto rice and stir it about for a few minutes until nicely coated. Add a 1/2 cup white wine, if you have any, or water if you don't (I didn't), and let it evaporate. Then, add some chicken stock, a half cup at a time. Every time it is close to being evaporated, add another half cup; I went through about 2 cups of stock in all. This part takes about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, fry up some mushrooms (I had 4 regular white ones), or whatever you like really, in a skillet, until nicely browned. When your rice is nice and al dente, toss in the mushrooms and their oil, and stir! Add something like a quarter cup or more of parmesan cheese and serve.
When I sat down to enjoy this, I thought--wait, I've had this before! I mean, I'm sure I have had risotto other times as well, in restaurants or whatever; but as I munched on the mushroomy creamy goodness in my deep black bowl I suddenly realized what it was that was on special that time in high school...

So, in conclusion: The investment here is some good short-grain rice, though if you happen to be near Italian-themed groceries this is actually not a prohibitive expense. You also need to have a lot of stock of some sort handy; I'm now almost out and need to make some more. On the other hand, it's not hard, it's both delicious and filling, and can be made with infinite variations; plus I hear it's good cold for lunch...