Monday, August 30, 2010

Saturday in the Tropics…
 After a stunning sunny Saturday at the beach today on a famous Puerto Rican beach called Ocean Park –people frolicking in the surf, picking up shells and bronzing themselves under big chic umbrellas on white sands and accompany by good friends and good wine, nothing can be more romantic than ending the day with a great gourmet recipe and a good Spanish red wine.

Here one of my favorite Italian plates of all times:Portobello Risotto combined with a Rioja wine.

Lets get our hands dirty…

Preparation time: 25 min approximately

-       1 cup of thin slides of Portobello mushrooms
-       4 cups of chicken broth
-       ½ bar of butter or 4 tbsp of butter
-       1 minced shallot
-       1 medium onion (mince half of it let the rest intact)
-       1 cup of Arborio rice (high starch Italian rice)
-       ¼ cup of red Spanish wine
-       ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
-       ½ teaspoon of salt
-       1 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
-       ¼ of a cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (for those who prefer goats milk you can substitute with: Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Pecorino)
-       Flat leaf parsley (chopped for garnish)


1.   Semi-boil chicken stock in a medium size saucepan and add ½ the onion.

2.    In a deep non-stick casserole melt 2 tbsp of butter and the extra-virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Add minced shallots and onion (1/2) to casserole. When the onion is caramelized add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and let it seared for about 2 min.

3.    Pour the red wine into the casserole until alcohol evaporates. (Fun fact: to make sure the alcohol is entirely evaporated, place your nose on top of the casserole…if you get wacked …wait another 2 more min).

4.    Add Arborio rice and stir until the rice gets a pink-ish color(Notice: this color means the rice is absorbing the wine).

5.   Add sufficient chicken stock to cover up all the rice and start stirring non-stop (and I mean NON-STOP). You will notice that the rice will start increasing its size, when chicken stocks evaporates, add again to cover the whole rice. Continue this procedure until rice softens. Gradually lower heat to medium.

6.   After repeating this procedure (aprox 5 times), you will observe that the consistency will be similar to a puree, but the grains will triple in size and stay intact.

7.   When the rice has completely softened (don’t stop stirring)add the other 2 tbsp of butter plus the Parmigiano Reggiano (or Parmigiano Pecorino Romano) and stir for aprox. 1 minute.

8.   Recommend serving in a white bowl (Fact: white plates stimulates desire for food, while it resists to compete with the content). When serving add the flat leaf parsley and more shredded cheese at taste and. …VOILA!!!!

This plate MUST be accompany with a red Spanish wine of your preference, I suggest to compliment the plate with a Rioja, do to its bold flavor and strong body. 

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