Monday, May 26, 2008

Saffron Risotto

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 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!


notyet100 said...

this looks neat...

nandita said...

Super! Risotto looks creamy and ready to dig into...I am yet to buy arborio rice from our local stores...

bhags said...

the risotto looks warm and we really get arborio in India, well thats news to me

Arundathi said...

Notyet - thanks!

Nandita - It seems to be available in only "foreign" stores.

Bhags - yup, arborio is available in stores that sell those imported things like Trail Mix and Starbucks Frappuccino and Post Cereal :) Stores like Amma Naana and Maison de Gourmet in Chennai. I just had to buy a packet when I saw it and was glad I could use it!

Madhuram said...

Arundathi, th risotto looks creamy. I still can't believe that asparagus, arborio rice is available in Chennai. I really wish we could also settle there itself. I miss singara chennai very badly.

lakshmi said...

I wouldn't have cracked it.

btw, bought muffin pans from currimbhoys and some ugly cooking ramekins as well :D

Arundathi said...

Madhu - its definitely becoming easier to get stuff in Chennai...but there's a price for this stuff, and its not always reasonable. We would love to have you move back :)

Lakshmi - Cool!! I'm glad you were able to get the stuff! I tell you - Currimbhoys is where it's at! lol!

Cham said...

Surprise to see , these days we get from risotto to rice wrapper in India market..
It came out creamy Arundathi, very delicious too

ranji said...

i have never tried risotto in my life but i always wanted to...never got the oppurtunity..this looks really delcious!!

Andhra Flavors said...

Risotto looks creamy. Nice recipe with rice.

Sig said...

Wow, you get asparagus in Chennai? That is awesome! Looks like you have been cooking up a storm lately! Good job... :)

Jayashree said...

You found asparagus here???? I've been wanting to make a risotto....yours looks nice and creamy....I never developed a liking for asparagus, though....

Uma said...

love the riddle as well as the risotto. great entry.

Arundathi said...

Cham - thanks!

Ranji - do try it - its delicious!

Andhra - Thank you!

Sig - thanks Sig - the marathon has really got me cooking a lot!

Jayashree - well, you could always leave out the asparagus - just don't omit the wine! :)

Uma - thanks!

Srivalli said...

lol..just like your description...fabulous finds!...and the number of times you have mentioned abt wine not be to missed, somebody would think you are marketing wine!...hehehh

Sagari said...

creamy and yummy risoto arundhati

Arundathi said...

@ Valli - as long as they don't mistake me for an alcoholic ;)

Sagari - thanks!

Simran said...

My pet risotto question - do you make your own stock? I love risottos, and I love making them. But if I have to make stock first, it just seems like too much effort.

Arundathi said...

Simran - yes, i agree. This time I made my own since I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. Usually I just substitute water (gasp!), or use store-bought. Definitely the taste was much better with the home made stock.

abby said...

could anyone pls tell me as to where i can buy asparagus in chennai? pls tell me specific places....

Arundathi said...

Abby, the only places I have seen them is Amma Naana (opp Park Sheraton hotel) and Maison de Gourmet. I hope you find it!

Mollie Greene said...

Saffron is a costly condiment which enhances the flavor of food. Many fake sources are available for saffron sale. Buy saffron online from a trusted source only.