daring cook challenge, risotto, roasting, something new

Daring Cooks Challenge: Risotto

This month’s Daring Cooks Challenge, comes in the form of: Risotto. Like last month’s ‘Hummus’ challenge, the base left a lot of room to play with flavors.
Over the course of a couple of weeks I made two variations, jumping off the base recipe around step 6 and taking a few tips from Mario Batali’s “Molto Italiano”

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

The Basics:

Risotto Base

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L


1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don’t actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.

The first attempt was done with a rich homemade roasted chicken stock, Carnaloni rice, Parmigiano-Reggiano and peas. It was served with a roasted Rouge Poulet and a Coq Au Vin pan sauce.

After all of this time cooking, I’m actually kicking myself for never having made risotto before now. The recipe was extremely user friendly and the rich roasted chicken stock that I made gave the rice such depth that would severely be lacking in the second incarnatoin:

Dungeness Crab and Asparagus Risotto

The stock, quickly made with some of the shells of the crab, was extremely bland, even with the addition of Parm, Cappuccetto and minced, blanched asparagus. A very expensive ‘Meh.’ on my part…