Friday, May 3, 2013

Meet Ben!

Well, hello there! I grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts, on a little farm. When I was younger, it was my job to take care of the chickens, sheep, cows and turkeys, and this gave me great respect for fresh meat and eggs. As I grew up, my parents, who are both wonderful cooks, taught me to be more adventurous in the kitchen (for the longest time I literally only made omelets), and once I moved to Brooklyn, I became a much
more diverse cook. I work on the technical side of a news network and love every minute of it. In my spare time, I love to wander the city, especially Chinatown where I can find the weirdest ingredients (live jellyfish anyone?). Without 37 Cooks, I honestly don't think I would be half the cook I am today.

Risotto to me is one of the best dishes out there. Many people are scared to make it because it is supposedly fussy -- well, I am here to debunk that. The great thing about risotto is that you can basically throw anything into it and it will taste delicious. Below is my recipe for Risotto Primavera, but you can use your own add-ins in it. I've made it with shiitake mushrooms and bacon, as well as with scallops and orange zest. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Also, keep in mind that this recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on how many people you are serving, just remember the liquid to Arborio rice ratio is 3:1 .

Risotto Primavera

1 large shallot, finely minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked
1 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth
2 bell peppers (red, yellow), diced
3 large carrots, sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup snow peas
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan (or whichever cheese you prefer)
Flat leaf parsley to finish
Salt & pepper to taste

In separate pans, heat up the broth and the wine to a slow simmer.

In a heavy dutch oven, add the oil, butter, garlic and shallots. Cook until the shallots soften, about 8 minutes.

Add the Arborio rice and let sit until white spots form in the center of the rice grains, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir frequently until all liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add the hard vegetables (such as carrots and peppers) after the wine is absorbed, so they soften. Continue adding the broth, 1 cup at a time, and stirring frequently. Add the asparagus after the 4th cup of broth, and finally, the snow peas, after the last cup of broth.

Once the risotto is just tender but slightly firm in the center (it takes about 20-25 min) and the vegetables are cooked to desired firmness, add the grated Parmesan and stir until fully incorporated.

To serve, spoon onto a plate and garnish with the parsley.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Ben! I had no idea you were a child laborer, lol! I am making this with Woo's chicken under a brick next weekend!