Champagne risotto is comforting on a cold night and easy to prepare. Photo by: AP Photo/Richard Drew
December 28, 2016 10:20:09 AM
Even though risotto is a simple rice dish, I associate it with special occasions.
A northern Italian rice dish cooked in broth to a creamy consistency, risotto is most often served as a first course. But in the U.S., we serve it as a side or a main course.
It most always includes butter, onions and wine. I have made white wine risotto with spring peas and crab meat and red-wine risotto with caramelized shallots and mushrooms. But I never thought about making Champagne risotto until my friend and fellow chef, Bob Blumer mentioned it to me. I immediately knew that Champagne risotto would have to become my New Year's Eve staple -- it's comforting on a cold night and easy to prepare while talking and drinking with friends. And it's the perfect choice for an at-home New Year's Eve celebration.
Bob makes his risotto with asparagus which is out of season right now. I opted to make mine with my one of my favorite ingredients, mushrooms -- any kind of mushrooms work, or a mixture of wild mushrooms. The combination of garlic, shallots, butter, Champagne, Parmesan and thyme is so rich that this recipe is excellent with button mushrooms and only gets better with more interesting mushrooms. My favorite two mushrooms are meaty morels and chanterelles. And since it is New Year's Eve, why not spurge with Champagne and chanterelles!?
The key to risotto is setting up two pots, one for the chicken stock and the other for making the risotto itself. Keep the chicken stock warm so that it is absorbed quicker and doesn't "shock" the risotto as you stir it in, little by little.
Servings: 2 dinner portions or 4 side dishes
Start to finish: 45 minutes
2 large shallots, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 ounces mixed chopped mushrooms (A generous cup of cooked mushrooms)
1 cup champagne
32 ounces unsalted chicken stock
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided
1 generous cup Arborio rice
1 generous cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Nutrition information per serving: 343 calories; 174 calories from fat; 19 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 37 mg cholesterol; 475 mg sodium; 31 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 12 g protein.