Risotto. It sounds so fancy, doesn't it? Maybe that's why the prospect of making it has always scared the crap out of me. Georgeanne (who is currently en route to the US, so maybe we can make something fun together in the coming weeks) has explained to me in the past that it's actually really easy to throw together a risotto. Just keep adding liquid to your rice until it absorbs it and stir.
I'd seen this recipe for risotto with swiss chard before over at The Way the Cookie Crumbles. I picked up some really beautiful rainbow chard at the store and decided that it was time to give the recipe a shot.
The process started out simply enough. I added the rice and chard to some sauteed onions and garlic. The recipe instructs you to saute the rice a little bit until the grains turn clear. They weren't turning completely clear, but instead retained little white spots. Like I said, I had never made risotto before, so I panicked a little bit, but continued on with the recipe.
I added some cheap (but tasty) white wine to the rice and waited for it to become absorbed, stirring from time to time. When the liquid didn't seem to be disappearing in the time I expected it to, I panicked again. I tried to be patient, and eventually the wine did seem to mostly disappear into the rice.
At this point I relaxed a little. The rice wasn't "broken," don't ask me how that's even possible, and I continued adding stock and water to the rice in small increments until the liquid disappeared. I heated up each cup of stock in the microwave for a minute because the recipe dictates that the liquid needs to be warm before you add it to the risotto. Is this necessary? I have no idea, but I was afraid to wander too far away from the original recipe.
I didn't add parmesan into the finished risotto for obvious reasons, but in my opinion it didn't really need it. Swiss chard has such a strong flavor of its own and it gave the rice a really savory element. I always thought that swiss chard has a flavor that's oddly similar to soy sauce, but maybe it's just my brain misfiring. In any case, I proved to myself that I didn't need to be so frightened of risotto. Aside from my unnecessary panicking, the recipe went very smoothly and the results were completely worth it.