I am absolutely 100% in love with the cooking classes offered by Sur la Table! As a recently married woman, I have found a great love for being in the kitchen, but most especially when I have new dishes to try out. I went to a Dining Al Fresco class there a couple of weeks ago & here are some recipes I learned, with a few alternatives of my own. Hope you enjoy!
Lemon & Saffron Risotto
Yield: 4 servings
6 cups chicken broth OR veggie stock*
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads (look in the spices aisle at your local grocery store or go to an International supermarket to find it)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 ½ c. Arborio rice (my personal favorite!)
½ c. dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (but more can be added, depending on personal tartness tastes)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives (green onions could be used instead, but the chives hold more flavor)
1 c. (2 ounces) shaved parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish at the end)
1 pinch of sea salt (more according to taste)
Ground black pepper for seasoning
Lemon-flavored olive oil (for garnish)
Directions: Pour chicken or veggie broth into a medium saucepan & bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, & then add the saffron to the broth & cover.
Use a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, & add olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add shallots & cook. Stir frequently until fragrant or translucent (about 2 minutes.) Add wine & cook until pan is almost dry, about 3 more minutes.
Using a ladle, add a cup of the broth to the rice, stirring the risotto constantly with a wooden spoon. (Not stirring rapidly enough can result in burnt risotto grains.) Reduce heat to medium & cook until broth is almost fully absorbed/evaporated. (I also recommend having 3-4 cups of water boiling in a separate pot in case more liquid is needed to make the risotto fully cooked & creamy. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat until it is only simmering.)
Add additional broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently & adding more broth only after the broth is absorbed. The risotto should be done after 20 minutes; it will look creamy & the rice grains are plump & tender. A taste test is always encouraged, but be careful! It will be hot!
Remove the risotto pan from heat & stir in the butter, lemon zest, chives, lemon juice, & parmesan cheese. (Freshly grated parmesan cheese tends to be tastier.) Taste the risotto as a whole now & adjust seasoning with salt & pepper as needed. More lemon zest or the lemon-flavored olive oil may be added for a more tart taste.
*Veggie stock can be made from skins, veggie ends (i.e. celery stalks, shallot flowers, etc.) & water. It should be left to sit & soak for about 2 hours on the stove hours, after being boiled all together.
Note: Perfect risotto should drift gently when ladled into a serving dish, especially with the melting Parmesan cheese topping.
Bon appetit! 🙂