Special occasions

by CSWSmovie

You know you’re about to cook something good when you set the ingredients down in front of the cashier and she asks, “special occasion?”  High quality butter, pancetta, red wine poking out of my other bag – nope, just the makings of Monday night’s dinner, consumed while wearing an old t-shirt, shorts and glasses, the latest episode of Mad Men playing on the computer. But it was no doubt a welcome-back-to-the-old-routine dinner – eating off of real dinnerware, eating at a normal dinner time, eating next to Terence – all things I missed this past month.

This red wine risotto has long been bookmarked, and I loved, loved it. It’s not diet food (did I mention the pancetta and butter?) but I can’t think of a more perfect course to serve to guests, or to a loved one, or for yourself after a good (or bad) day. It was also the perfect recipe for me to get back into the cooking swing of things – lots of stirring, lots of tasting, and an excuse to open that bottle of red. This breath of cooler weather we’ve been having didn’t hurt either. It’s amazing to me that fall is around the corner.

So until the next film shoot gears up, I’ll be listening to this on repeat as summer winds down, and making dinner every chance I get.

Risotto Rosso (Red Wine Risotto)

by Abra Bennett (via food52)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 4 ounces diced mushroom caps, shiitake or cremini
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • 1 cup carnaroli rice, or use vialone nano or arborio
  • 1/2 cup fruity red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 T butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté diced pancetta until the fat begins to render. Add diced mushrooms, and saute over medium high heat until pancetta and mushrooms are golden and slightly crisp. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Combine beef and chicken broth in a large measuring cup or a saucepan. Heat the broth in the microwave or on the stovetop until simmering, and maintain it at a bare simmer. Add 1 T olive oil to the fat in the pan and briefly sauté the diced shallots over medium heat until softened but not brown. Add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently, until the rice is completely opaque but not golden. Add the wine and stir until the rice is pink and the wine is evaporated. Reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Begin adding the simmering broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. As soon as each addition of broth is absorbed into the rice, add another 1/2 cup. When you have only 1 cup of broth left, return the pancetta and mushroom mixture to the pan to let the flavors blend into the rice. When all of the broth has been absorbed, the rice should be creamy, but not mushy. You may need a little more or less broth, depending on your rice.
  4. Add 2 T butter and stir until melted. Add Parmigiano Reggiano and stir to incorporate, then add parsley and stir briefly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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