Monday, February 10, 2014

Roasted Sweet Garlic, Thyme & Mascarpone Risotto with Almonds

Our plans for Valentines Day are to get burger night take-out and watch the Olympics with a glass of wine but if you need a good meal for the big day this is it. Creamy, decadent, and totally delicious. We ate this for dinner Saturday night when my mom was visiting and have been lunching the leftovers ever since. This risotto is a project but a fun one - maybe you and your valentine can cook it together?



Dylan is working on Valentines for his class. Just seeing his name on a formal class list is so cute to me. Alas he is slightly more interested in pretending to be a cheetah then crafting with doilies. My mom surprised him with some new face paint and he woke up Sunday morning saying "mommy make me a CHEETAH!" and we haven't looked back. He definitely went to school this morning with a shadow of paint across his face and some faint whiskers.


Roasted Sweet Garlic, Thyme & Mascarpone Risotto with Almonds
from The Naked Chef Takes Off

serves 6
2 large heads of garlic, whole and unpeeled
1 basic risotto recipe (below)
1 good handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked from the stems
5 ounces shelled and peeled almonds, slightly crushed, cracked or chopped
2 handfuls of coarse bread crumbs (such as panko)
olive oil
salt
2 heaping tablespoons mascarpone cheese

1. Roast the garlic heads on a dish in a 450 F oven for about 30 minutes until soft. Separate the cloves and squeeze out the sweet insides. Add the thyme at the start of Stage 3 of the basic risotto recipe (below). In a frying pan toast the almonds and bread crumbs in a little olive oil until crisp and golden. Season with a little salt. Set to one side. Serve the risotto with a dollop of mascarpone on the top and sprinkled with the toasted almonds and bread crumbs.

Basic Risotto

approximately 5 cups stock (chicken, fish, or vegetable as appropriate)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 a head of celery, finely chopped
14 ounces arborio rice
2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth or wine
sea salt and black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Stage 1: Heat the stock. In a separate large saute pan heat the olive oil, add the shallots, garlic, and celery, and fry slowly for about 4 minutes. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

Stage 2: The rice will now begin to fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring - it will small fantastic.

Stage 3: Add thyme and garlic. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a highish simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice - is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don't forget to check the seasoning carefully.

Stage 4: Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir gently. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit 2-3 minutes. Eat as soon as possible.


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