Archive for the 'risotto' Category

An Unlikely Dish: Apple & Pear Risotto

June 25, 2006

Most of my food ideas come within the first 30 minutes after I’m awake on weekends.  I present my ideas and my boyfriend either agrees, or I spend a bit more time convincing him that what I want to make will work.  This entry is a dish where a bit of convincing went a long way.

Neither of us are dessert fans, but a quantity of arborio rice and an idea to use it in an untraditional way had me concocting the following, of which I believe I will use again in the fall with much more fragrant and spicier flavours.


  • 1 can bartlett pears in light syrup 
  • 1 granny smith apple with skin on, sliced thinly.   
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 3-5 cloves
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  • 1 pat butter

Start by preparing your syrup, which should be done with patience.  Drain most of the ‘juice’ from your can of pears and combine it with apple juice, and mull with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon over low to medium heat. 

Traditionally, risotto is prepared with wine, so I combined 2 tsp apple cider vinegar with 3/4 cup apple juice to act as an acidic starter to emulate white wine.  I’m sure this can be skipped, but the results tasted delicious either way. 

Melt butter over medium heat in a pot deep enough to handle a good quantity of rice.  A 6 litre vessel will do.  Add arborio and allow it to absorb the fat, and then add apple juice & vinegar mixture.  It should smell quite fragrant, and once the rice has absorbed the liquid, spoon or ladle in small quantities of your syrup and stir.  Allow rice to absorb syrup, and keep repeating until most of your liquid is gone.  This should take you about 25-35 minutes.

Testing the rice is important if you (like me) aren’t sure about the rice’s doneness.  But this is also a good way to determine whether the syrup is too sweet.  Add a touch of the reserved apple cider vinegar to balance out your flavour and then balance it back out with more syrup. 

Once your rice is nearly finished, add apple slices and pears, along with any remaining syrup from the can.  Cook until apples are soft, but not mushy and serve hot.  This can also be covered, refridgerated and then warmed in the microwave later if you wish…

 …I ate mine for breakfast! 


Risotto with fresh asparagus, pancetta and asaigo

May 21, 2006


Inspired by a coworker's statement about how easy this was to make, I knew I had to try it.  I'm not a large consumer of white rice, but I do like the brown and wild variety so I thought I should at least give risotto a chance.  Given that there was a large amount of asparagus on hand as well, it was a great way to use some of it up.

To serve two, you'll need:

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 cups stock (I used chicken, but pork would be great too!)
  • 6-8 pieces of pancetta
  • 1 vidalia onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 cup asaigo cheese
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup asparagus

Start by preparing your stock and cooking the pancetta.  I'd not used pancetta before, so I learned that it cooks much like bacon but at a faster pace and it's wise to use a slightly lower temperature.  Ventilation is also a valuable tip to give- so if you can't air out your kitchen, take the battery out of the smoke alarm.

Lightly fly the onion and garlic together until it smells delicious and in a separate (but larger pan) toast the arborio with the fat from the pancetta.  If you don't want to use it, substitute olive oil instead.  Combine the ingredients into the larger pan, and stir well, slowly adding white wine.  Keep stirring and stirring.  Pour a glass of wine for yourself and get out a ladle. 

As liquids in the vessel you're stirring gently become absorbed, add about a ladle full of stock.  Stir some more and repeat until you're out of stock.  Add pancetta, asparagus and cheese until combined well, and serve.