October 7, 2010

Almost Hands-Free Risotto

I have always wondered what Risotto tastes like, but I never dared make it, because I heard that it was a very involved recipe that can be ruined very easily.  I figured I would just have to order it at a restaurant sometime, until I came across this recipe.  The name says it all.  

Now, I don't know how this compares to other Risotto dishes, but I thought it was delicious.  I will definately make this again.  I got home from work, threw a few seasonings on a chicken breast, covered with foil and baked it in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.  The recipe says to brown the chicken in oil then simmer in the broth, but I decided it would be easier to just bake it in the oven.  Then, when I was ready to start dinner, my chicken was already cooked and ready to go.  So, other than baking the chicken, this dish took me about one hour from start to finish.  I did add a little too much salt, so be careful.  Next time, I am going to try it with just the cheese and chicken, no herbs.  I cut the recipe in half and had the perfect amount for two servings.  Creamy and delicious!
Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Chicken and Herbs
adapted from: America's Test Kitchen

5 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 c. water 
1 Tbl. olive oil
2 (12 oz.) bone in, skin-on chicken breasts,
    cut in half crosswise
4 Tbl. unsalted butter
1 large onion, minced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 c. Arborio rice
1 c. dry white wine (I used chicken broth)
1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbl. fresh chives, chopped (I didn't add)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (I didn't add)

1.  Bring the broth and water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.  
2.  Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until just starting to smoke.  Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until golden brown, 4-6 minutes.  Flip the chicken and cook the second side until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to the saucepan of simmering broth and water and cook until the chicken registers 160-165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10-15 minutes.  Transfer to a large plate.    
3.  Add 2 Tbl. butter to Dutch oven and cook over medium heat.  When the butter has melted, add the onion and 3/4 tsp. salt.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened but not browned, 4-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the grains are translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes.  
4.  Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2-3 minutes.  Stir 5 cups of the hot broth mixture into the rice.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just al dente, 16-19 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.  
5.  Add 3/4 cup more hot broth mixture, and stir gently and constantly until the risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the Parmesan.  Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
6.  Meanwhile, remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat into bite-size pieces.  Gently stir the shredded chicken, the remaining 2 Tbl. butter, and the parsley, chives, and lemon juice into the risotto.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  If desired, add up to 1/2 cup remaining broth mixture to loosen the texture of the risotto.  Serve.  

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