Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Revelation - Baked Risotto

There are several baking and cooking blogs that I read regularly, so when Patricia from Technicolor Kitchen blogged a Spinach, Cheese, and Walnut Baked Risotto, I was intrigued.

I love risotto, but have only made it twice in my life because it is labor-intensive. The idea of having the same result but only having to stir it twice was overwhelmingly enticing. I had asked her if she thought the flavor/texture was comparable to regular risotto, she said yes, and I'm here to say she was completely right. Please see her recipe for the version she made, which itself is an adaptation of a Donna Hay recipe. I'm including mine, since it was adapted again.

Spinach and Cheese Baked Risotto

1 ½ cups Arborio (or risotto) rice
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 white wine
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
2 oz spinach leaves – remove the stems before measuring or use baby spinach leaves
4 oz feta cheese (for extra flavor, buy the kind that is seasoned)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the rice, stock, and wine 9x13 baking dish (or equivalent). Cover tightly with foil and cook for 40 minutes or until most of the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente.

Add the parmesan, butter, salt, pepper, spinach, and feta and stir until the butter is melted. Serve immediately.

That's all there is to it! You could make this so easily alongside other dishes without slaving over a hot stove for an hour. Definitely, definitely try this recipe.

Now I need to figure out what to do with my leftovers. I have read of risotto balls or patties.... I'll go off and investigate, and hope to post if I do anything more with them!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Caramelized Onion and White Cheddar Dip

I'm not always a fan of Rachel Ray, but when I saw her make this dip I knew it would be spectacular. It is really more of a fondue recipe. I think you could probably thin it out and eat it as soup if you wanted.

Caramelized Onion and White Cheddar Dip with Apples and Dark Bread

4 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 teaspoon dried thyme or poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper
3 green apples
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 small, round loaf crusty pumpernickel bread, cut into bite-size cubes, 1 pound
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
A pinch or 2 of ground cloves
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar

Heat a heavy bottomed medium pot or deep skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in pot and add onions, raising heat slightly. Add bay, thyme, salt and pepper to onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramel in color, 20 minutes.

While onions cook, slice apples and douse with a little lemon juice to slow browning. Arrange the apples and bread on a board or platter.

When onions are soft and sweet, add flour and cook a minute. Whisk in wine, cook a minute then whisk in half-and-half. When the liquid comes up to a bubble, season with nutmeg and cloves and adjust salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in Cheddar and melt then remove from heat and serve in fondue pot or transfer to a small, warmed sauce pot which you can return to the stove top to reheat sauce as necessary. Dip apples and bread in warm cheesy sauce and enjoy.

Categories: Apple, Appetizer, Bread, Cheese, Dip, Onion, Wine