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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Balsamic Risotto with Roasted Red Peppers


After getting comfortable with the idea of risotto, I realized it's actually a pretty easy thing to throw together on a weeknight. It's also a great base recipe to start with to get rid of some of the things in your fridge (like I keep saying I want to do more of.) I had a half of a jar or roasted red peppers in my fridge, so I used that as a starting point for this recipe. Since Keith loves the flavor of balsamic vinegar on anything and I just acquired a bottle of some really delicious stuff, I figured it might be a good addition to the risotto. I started with a pretty small amount of the vinegar and I'm really glad I did. It lent just the right amount of flavor to the dish, but I think any more might have been too much. 

Balsamic Risotto with Roasted Red Peppers

2 cups of arborio rice
3 1/2 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
1 cup of white wine
2 1/2 cups water
1/8 cup of less of good quality balsamic vinegar (to taste)
1 yellow onion, diced
a couple of cloves of garlic, minced
1 roasted red bell pepper from a jar (or roast your own), chopped finely
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat a layer of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and pepper and cook until the onion is soft and the red bell pepper is heated. 

Add the rice into the pot along with some salt. Toast the rice, coating it with the oil, stirring frequently for about two minutes. Add the wine to the pot and stir, cooking until the wine absorbs into the rice (this may take up to 10 minutes depending on your rice.) 

In the meantime, measure out two cups of your chicken stock. I'm pretty sure that the liquid you add to risotto is supposed to be warm, thought I'm not quite sure why, so I just microwaved the liquid I was about to add for about a minute (before each addition.) So, if you desire, microwave your stock for about a minute until it is warm. I also made risotto without warming the liquid at all, and it seemed to come out fine. Once the wine has been completely absorbed into your rice, add the two cups of warmed stock and stir, just like with the wine, until absorbed. 

Add the remaining (warmed) stock and stir as before until absorbed. Measure about 1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar and add it to the rice along with a cup of (warmed) water. Stir the rice mixture until the liquid becomes absorbed, as before (starting to sound familiar?) The rice will take on a darker color. Add the rest of the warmed liquid, one cup at a time in the same fashion until no more liquid remains. Taste the rice to make sure that it is cooked through (if it isn't, continue adding small increments of liquid.) Salt and pepper to taste.

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