Ah, risotto…. I am eternally fond of this dish. As an up and coming food and cooking enthusiast I used to constantly devour all information, recipes and cooking techniques available via food television. I honestly owe much of what I know about how to cook things to watching Food Network for about 5+ years (now I prefer Cooking Channel, of course)
As a beginner in the kitchen, I was drawn to attempting to make risotto as it looked laborious but attainable. It was one of the first things I ever made all on my own and I was proud of it. It was a wild mushroom risotto and I made it for my mom. We both enjoyed it so much and the success of that dish inspired me to continue my adventure with food and cooking. It gave me the confidence I needed to take on bigger and more challenging tasks and my love affair with food has never dwindled.
For me, risotto is the perfect anytime comfort food: great as a side dish or as a satisfying dinner. I found myself home alone on a weeknight and craving a warm embrace via dinner and made this simple but blissful risotto with some things I had on hand.
Risotto with Rocket (Arugula) and Bucheron
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 small white onion
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup white wine (I used a Sauv Blanc that I had in the fridge but any tasty white will do)
- 4 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 of a lemon
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup baby arugula, slightly chopped
- 1/4 wheel of Bucheron, crumbled (perfect if you have some left over from Valentines 😉
- herbal garnish of your choice, I used some basil
Typically, I cook my rice in chicken or vegetable stock. I did not happen to have any on hand, homemade or otherwise, so I basically made myself a fortified water. I put my four cups of water into a pot and added the bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, squeezed the lemon half and threw it all into the pot and brought it to a simmer. This served as the cooking liquid for the rice.
Next, in a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the butter and begin to saute the aromatics: onion and garlic. When translucent and soft, add the cup of arborio rice and stir everything around to get the rice evenly coated with the butter. Continue stirring for about 2-3 minutes or until the rice has toasted and begun to brown slightly.
Now pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan, stirring constantly. When most of the wine has been absorbed by the rice and everything has thickened a bit, start to add in the “stock” one ladle full at a time and repeat the process, adding another ladle of stock as the last one gets absorbed.
When you have about two ladle-fulls of stock left, give your rice a sampling. It should be soft and supple but still have a nice chew to it and it will have plumped up nicely. If it is still very chewy, continue adding the stock till its gone. If the texture is to your liking, consider it done!
I like my risotto a little creamy so to finish mine off I added a 1/4 cup of creme fraiche. Creme fraiche also provides a nice tang that complements the hints of lemon and fennel.
At this point, add in the arugula and stir into the rice until it just softens. Toss it onto a plate or into a bowl and add the crumbled bucheron on top. I garnished mine with some fresh basil but feel free to add whatever herbs you enjoy. And that’s that! It’s everything you want in one bowl, fresh and bright, creamy and warming. A tasty comforting weeknight meal for one!