While I’d love to shirk kitchen duties for a week and ignore all dishes, surfaces, waste and dust, meals must go on. Often, after pulling off the planning, preparation and execution of a challenging and complicated meal, I need a week until I can face buttering up another pan. My two lumberjacks, however, are in no way on board with such a hiatus, so I’m depending on two things to keep my culinary zeal elevated for the post-holiday dulldrums. First, the telepathic Mr. S gave me a new apron and hot mitts, along with a gift card to heaven; I’ve already begun combing through the website, and I foresee a glass dome cake stand in my near future. Second, Mrs. S graciously lent me her copy of Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen after I mentioned I’d like to learn a few Italian dishes as well as the fundamental principals and techniques. I’m unfamiliar with this Lidia, but her book looks promising, and my faith in her referrer is unwavering.
My self-dare for this week is to get my mind around this thing called risotto, and then practice, practice, practice until I produce something that might not infuriate Chef Gordon Ramsay. Oh, and I’ve never had risotto; it’s rice, right? I don’t know that I’m comfortable with the frequently applied adjective, “creamy,” but I admire the nonexistent margin of error. Lidia offers that “there are no two ways of making risotto; either you make it right, or it is not risotto.”
If Lidia’s recipe proves successful, I will post a comprehensive review and the recipe verbatim (and it’s a long one). If not, get ready for a lengthy character assassination of a certain public television figure. Any of my gentle readers who consider themselves masters of this dish are welcome to weigh in, and I would hugely appreciate variations, suggestions, and warnings. I can offer a Fed-Ex box of chocolate chippers and general immortalization in exchange, a rather generous reward if you ask me. And if anyone could advise me as to the best cooking vessel (material, finish, size, depth), I would be beside myself with gratitude.