There are some recipes that you keep in your back pocket - a recipe that’s sure to impressive, but also reliable. For me, this is one of those recipes. The risotto shines in simplicity and acts as a canvas for anything you may want to add to, on, in, or alongside it. In this version, the recipe is a smidgen spruced up with the substitution of beer and chicken stock for water. I also added asparagus and fava beans from the Farmer’s Market for no other reason than they were too beautiful to pass up. Instead of pecorino, try parmigiano. Add ham and peas or top with crumbled bacon and a poached egg. Leave as is and ladle a slow braised over. The possibilities are endless with this recipe, which is exactly why it’s always in my back pocket. This is also a great recipe for using unhopped wort instead of beer. Just be sure to taste as you go as additional acidity may be needed to match the wort’s sweetness.
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- 1 cups blonde ale
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
- 3 tbs. citrus champagne vinegar or fresh lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup grated pecorino
- ¼ cup ricotta (optional)
- veggies (optional)
- 1 tbs. lemon zest (optional)
- 2 tbs. butter
- If using vegetables, cook them for a couple of minutes in boiling water until barely fork tender and then shock in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
- Add chicken stock to a small pot and bring to a simmer.
- Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
- Add the garlic and arborio rice. Stirring now and again, cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in enough beer to just cover the rice.
- Stir frequently - I cannot stress this enough. Risotto requires tender love and care which means it needs you to pay attention to it.
- Once the liquid is fully absorbed, ladle in ½ cup chicken stock.
- Continue to stir frequently until the rice has, once again, absorbed all of the liquid.
- Repeat process until rice is tender with just a little bit of give to the bite in the center. It should be creamy and a little loose, but not soupy. You may not use all of the stock, or you may need additional stock.. it really just depends.
- Add the vinegar or lemon juice, sprinkle in grated cheese or stir in ricotta, stir in any veggies, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Top with additional cheese and/or fresh herbs, if desired.