The International Food League was so much fun! Basically, you have to pick a mystery box which contains a spice, a grain, a vegetable or a fruit. When you decide which box, you are sent a riddle. You have to crack the riddle to guess the ingredient. Then use the ingredient to make a dish and blog about it.
I, seriously, cracked the riddle in One Second (and I'm usually so bad at these things!). There's one very big clue. Here's the riddle:
I am the queen or am I the King
A very little of me goes a long way
I am part of a team and we all cling
including me will make your dish yellow and gay
You can include me in all
All you have to do is to pinch and call
Tell me what you think of me and don't think twice
Cos I am royal spice of all and will cost u every single penny!
The clue that gave it away was that it would cost me every single penny - it just had to be...you guessed it, Saffron. And if you didn't guess it... um...nothing much to say about that!
I was excited about it (as much as you can get excited about saffron). I had been wanting to do a risotto for a while, and was wondering if I could combine the two. When researching on the Web, I realized this was a very common dish. I basically combined lots of similar recipes and came up with this one. I put asparagus in it because I found some great asparagus in the market (very unusual for my city!).
Saffron Risotto with Asparagus
8 cups Vegetable broth/ stock
2 tbsp Butter
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1.5 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup Asparagus, steamed and chopped
1/2 tsp Saffron threads
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Add the saffron to the broth and bring to a gentle simmer in a saucepan over low heat.
In another large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the chopped asparagus and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat (the better coated the rice, the less mushy it will be in the end).
Add the wine, and stir until fully absorbed. Add the hot broth, a 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it's almost fully absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup.
Cook for about 20 minutes. The risotto is done when it is tender, but still firm to the bite. Turn off the heat, add the parmesan and stir vigorously to combine with the rice. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately in warmed bowls.
This turned out so well, and I half didn't expect it to, so I didn't take step-by-step photos!
Also, if you don't drink wine or won't use it in your cooking, then don't make the risotto - it absolutely needs the wine. (Okay Okay, if you really really won't use the wine, here's a recipe without it - but try it with the wine - it's so much better!).
In the Recipe Marathon today, here's what everyone's cooked up: Siri starts things off with a lovely drink. Valli's dosas continue with this interesting one. There are three veggies on display - Lakshmi's eggplant, Raaga's spinach and Divya's ladiesfinger. Swati made some very professional looking chole-bhatura. Ranji contributed some chicken for those non-vegetarians out there. Bhags made a fantastic middle-eastern favorite, Tzatziki. And you can finish the meal with Dhivya's fabulous looking brownies!