Many of you might not know this, but the arctic cold wave that is plaguing the United States has made its way to Florida, where we haven't seen the 70s since 2009. I know, to most of you that's nothing and, to be honest, it's nothing to me as well. I grew up in the cold and enjoy it, so I have a hard time sympathizing with people bitching because they have to put a sweater on. I mean, come on. Ten days of cool weather aren't the end of the world, right?
To tell you the truth, I'm enjoying this cold spell. I like to wake up to a house that is naturally cool (no heating to be had, it's a Florida house!) and I'm having tons of fun wearing all my boots and sweaters and jackets. Lows in the 30s? Bring it on! Highs in the 50s? Great! And you know why? Because it give me the perfect excuse to make my favorite winter dishes, stuff that I would never be making if it were 75 outside. Risotto is a perfect example. Rich, creamy, winter-y. Just the way comfort food should be. We made it at my parents house the other night and, as always when my dad makes risotto, it was amazing. Remember: the key to a great risotto is giving it your undivided attention.
RISOTTO WITH PORCINI
A one-ounce packet dried porcini
1 small onion, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil + 3 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups Arborio or Vialone Nano rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup frehsly grated Parmigiano
A quart of simmering beef broth
Steep the porcini in warm water for fifteen minutes.
Mince the onion and sauté it in oil and butter mixture. When it's translucent, stir the rice into the pot. Sauté the rice for several minutes, until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly.
Stir in the wine, and continue stirring until it has evaporated completely. Then stir in two ladles of broth, and while it's absorbing, chop some of the mushrooms, while leaving some in bigger pieces. Add the mushrooms to the rice, then continue adding broth a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally. As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the remaining butter, half the cheese, a little bit of ground pepper, and cover the risotto for two minutes. Serve with the remaining grated cheese.