A Lovely Tuna Risotto

tuna risotto

There are a whole lot of great reasons to do almost any kind of risotto, but this one conjures up a kind of Mediterranean seafood risotto that really wins, big time. It’s dubbed a tuna risotto, but that really doesn’t even begin to understand this dish. It’s full of tomatoes, wine, some peas and of course tuna. It’s a kind of Italian seafood fest and then some.

I found this in an old New York Times article I think all the way back to 2008, kept it around for a year or more, and then finally tried it out one day. I’m sorry I didn’t try it much sooner. It’s that good. I half expected the tuna would kind of wash out everything else, but in fact it really brought out the other flavors. Made them better. And other than a bit more garlic than originally called for, I really didn’t change the dish all that much.

It’s a gem.

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Ham and Corn Risotto

Ham and Corn Risotto

So we all know risotto, that lovely rice dish, is definitely an Italian original. This ham and corn risotto (though I don’t know it’s heritage), is most likely something cooked up probably a good way from Italy. That said, there still is something about smoked ham and good corn that makes this risotto as good as it could ever come from Italy or anywhere else.

I should probably mention that under almost any circumstances, I’m good for risotto just about anytime you could bring it up. There is something about that Arborio rice and chicken broth that really gets me going. So when I came across the recipe from Southern Living, I had to try it and man, was it good. I did resort to making the risotto the traditional way, with lots of care in the execution, but apart from that, I really didn’t change a whole lot.

Give this a try. I think you’ll like it.

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Morel and Ramps in Risotto

Morel and Ramps Risotto

If I handed you a nice batch of morel and ramps from somewhere up in West Virginia, what would you come up with?

The thought was actually rather easy for us here at Discovery Cooking.

What I really wanted, more than any thing, was a beautifully done risotto, with morels and ramps.  Right. Well, it turns out that if you know where to look, you’ll find plenty of various recipes for risotto with morels and ramps. Yeah, I know. Not one, but generally hundreds of them (OK, maybe not hundreds, but more than you’d possibly think).

What we ended up with is something called a “sauce” that is laid over the top of the risotto and something similar, but with a little asparagus also added. I know, but there were two things about these recipes we really liked, and so rather than giving one up, we decided to make them, sort of, conspicuously. That is, we’d figure out what we liked about both and combine them in a really interesting way.

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Creamy Lobster Risotto

lobster risotto

For my money, risotto should be the national dish of Italy. As versatile as pasta may be, the many things you can do with risotto are simply endless. This lobster risotto is a case in point.

Lobster Risotto

Lobster Risotto

Three ideas drove this recipe. First, I’d seen a few risotto recipes over the past couple of years that incorporated mascarpone and that appealed to me in terms of what I though it would do for both the flavor and texture of a risotto. Second, I take part in a weekly Twitter chat that earlier this week was focused on lobster dishes (sponsored by @LobsterFromME), which had me thinking about my favorite crustacean. Finally, I’ve occasionally used tarragon with lobster dishes with good success and so I wanted to make that part of this project.

Fortunately it all came together beautifully, and on the first try — something that happens rarely. The result is creamy with just a hint of sweetness from the mascarpone and tarragon. 

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Risotto with Asparagus and Brie

risotto-asparagus-brie

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Perfect risotto isn’t difficult to make. It takes some time and patience. The result is a side dish, or a wonderful lunch entrĂ©e that’s one of  the most versatile and elegant I can imagine.

I probably don’t have to say it, but use only arborio rice (my favorite is from Lundberg). Nothing else will work and it’s generally easy to find. Use the best stock you can get your hands on, prepared yourself or purchased. This is the flavor base and if it’s not good, the rest of the dish is doomed, trust me.

The “trick” to great risotto is the cooking technique. I like to heat the rice with a bit of olive oil over medium heat before adding any liquid. It helps to get the rice ready to absorb the liquid. I also like to start with a cup of liquid at first, because it helps cool the pan a little (you want the rice to simmer slowly, rather than rapidly boil).

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