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Delicious Eats: Birthday Risotto

February 18, 2011

Happy Friday, everybody!  As promised, here’s my favorite risotto recipe!

A few years ago, when planning for my birthday, D asked me what I wanted to do.  I said I wanted to make risotto from my new cookbook, 100 Great Risottos, and I wanted him to make me carrot cake.  Both were insanely delicious, and thus the tradition of Birthday Risotto (and carrot cake) was born.  Here are all the instructions– but I don’t have a picture of the finished product (because I am a terrible blogger), sorry!

My Birthday Risotto: Beef and Mushroom

Risotto Equipment:

You need a good, heavy, and pretty large pot with a lid.  We use our 3.5 qt enameled cast iron dutch oven and it works really well because the cast iron keeps the heat really even.  But really, any wide, flat bottomed pot will do.

You will also need a good spoon for stirring.  I have a nice wooden one with a nice wide handle

The Ingredients:

13 oz of Aborio Rice

8 oz of beef cut into 1 in cubes (we like to use top round beef)

1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, all finely diced

1 package (7 oz) of white mushrooms, sliced

1 glass of red wine (I usually opt for a cab sav, but any dry red will do)

1 tbsp of tomato paste

2 liters of beef stock (stock, NOT broth!  Swanson’s stock in the box is very good)

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

2 oz of grated parmasean cheese (good stuff– not Kraft)

2 tbsp of chopped flat leaf parsley


Cooking time: 10-15 minutes prep, 40-45 minutes cooking

Melt 1 1/2 tbsp of the butter in the pan over medium high heat.

At the same time, in a separate pot, put your beef stock on the stove.  It should be kept at a simmer.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, beef, mushroom, and tomato paste

Cook all of the ingredients until the veggies have softened, “basting” with the red wine to keep things from getting dried out (you may not need to use a whole glass of wine for this)

Add the rice, and then cook, stirring, until the rice has “toasted”.  This usually takes 3-5 minutes.  You want to get it so that the rice has become opaque and is crackling hot (you’ll hear it).

Add 2-3 ladlefuls of hot stock to your risotto, stirring pretty continuously, until all of the liquid is absorbed.  (you can tell when it has been absorbed because your spoon will leave a “wake” in the risotto and you’ll be able to see the bottom of the pan– this wake will become more pronounced the further you are along in the cooking process.)

Continue adding stock, 1 ladle at a time, continuing to stir until the stock is absorbed before adding the next ladleful.

You want the risotto to develop a creamy texture, and the rice should become al dente, so it should have a slight firmness or bite to the center, but it should not in any way be crunchy or hard.  Frequent taste tests once it becomes creamy looking will help you find the prefect place between “crunchy” and “mushy”.

Once you are satisfied with the “done-ness” of the rice, take it off the heat and stir in the remaining butter, the parsley, and the Parmesan cheese.  Cover your pot and let the risotto rest for 4 minutes.

My Calculated Nutrition Facts (per serving):

makes 6 servings

429 Calories, 53 g of carbs, 13 g of fat, 18 g of protein


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