Elements of Food, Favorite Things

Sage Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto

This past weekend, my husband and I were lucky enough to escape just the two of us to the cabin for a long weekend. It’s pretty rare to get my husband away for a whole weekend and not work (okay, we may have worked for a few hours) But, at least it was sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine. One of my favorite things to do up at the cabin is plan fabulous meals for us while we are there. It’s the perfect place to indulge in food, and spend time cooking. I’ve said this before…but it relaxes me…and I REALLY needed to relax this weekend! One of my favorite things to make is risotto. Typically, people are afraid of making a risotto. I hear all the time that it seems intimidating, and that they are worried they will mess up the texture. In my opinion, they are one of the easiest dishes to make, and they are always satisfying. This weekend I decided to make one of my classic favorites, that I’ve been making for a few years now. The flavors in this one are incredible…with little melted pockets of mozzarella cheese, salty prosciutto and savory sage…it doesn’t get better than this! Oh…and you use wine. ūüôā

I posted this recipe awhile back, but, I had a conversation with a friend a few hours ago that inspired me to post it again. She is just starting to get into cooking and is trying to make a meal or two a week on her own. She is one of those lucky ones whose husband is the head chef in the house! Being that this recipe is so easy, I thought she might want to give it a try the next time it’s her turn to cook. My sister in law had also recently mentioned that risotto was intimidating…so I hope that this post helps you ladies learn a new recipe! I also took some photos while cooking at the cabin…still learning how to use the new camera ūüôā Enjoy!

Sage Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto
-Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 2¬† (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth. I always keep a little more available in case you need to alter the texture.
  • 1¬† tablespoon¬† butter
  • 1¬† cup¬† finely chopped leek (for leek preparation, see How to Prepare Leeks
  • 4¬† garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4¬† cups¬† Arborio rice
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 1/2¬† cup¬† dry white wine
  • 1 1/2¬† to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1¬† cup¬† (4 ounces) finely chopped fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2¬† ounces¬† prosciutto, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† freshly ground black pepper
  • Sage sprigs (optional)

Directions

  • Prepare your broth: Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  • Melt butter in a medium saut√© pan over medium heat. I like to use a Le Creuset braiser, I find the enameled pans work really well with risottos.
  • Add the chopped leek and garlic to the butter; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the uncooked Arborio rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Take note of the amazing aroma you just created!

That’s the easy part…now here’s where there is a little margin for error…but as long as you’ve kept your broth warm and continue to stir the rice while adding the liquid in small amounts…it will turn out perfectly.

  • Add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20-25 minutes total). Test the rice along the way.
  • The risotto is done, when it’s soft (but not mushy) with a slight bite, as if you were cooking a pasta al dente.
  • Stir in chopped sage, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in mozzarella. Spoon the risotto into bowls; top each serving with about 1 1/2 tablespoons prosciutto. Sprinkle with black pepper. Garnish with sage sprigs, if desired.

Leeks

Garlic

Chopping Garlic

Mozzarella

Prosciutto

DSC01018

DSC01023

Sage Mozzarella Risotto

Sancerre

Elements of Food

Butternut Squash Risotto

Two of my most favorite things are risotto and butternut squash…so obviously putting the two together creates a comforting yet gourmet meal, in just 45 minutes. I know that making a risotto seems intimidating, but it’s actually very easy if you understand the technique and don’t mind hanging out in the kitchen for 25-30 minutes. I find that making risotto is almost relaxing…the constant stirring and wonderful aromas that fill the kitchen are cooking therapy to me, helping me unwind from a long day. The biggest secret for cooking a risotto correctly is heating your cooking liquid before adding it to the rice. It prevents interruption to the cooking process…so bring your broth to a boil and keep it on low heat in a saucepan next to your risotto pan. This dish is also really pretty…Sorry for the bad iPhone photo!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of peeled and finely diced butternut squash
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small onion chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice (best type of rice for risotto)
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 6-8 cups of chicken broth, kept warm on the stove
  • 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chopped crispy bacon – Optional

Directions

  1. Pierce holes in your butternut squash with a knife in several places and place butternut squash on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 5-6 minutes on high. This will help you peel your squash and make cutting it a lot easier. Dice.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring your broth to a boil and keep warm on low heat.
  3. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed dutch oven or braiser on medium heat. (I use my Le Creuset braiser for essentially everything) Add the butternut squash, garlic and onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine. Cook, stirring constantly until the all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Add 2 ladles of broth to the rice, and stir until absorbed. Continue adding the broth in small amount, stirring until absorbed before adding more.
  5. Continue adding broth and stirring until the rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes. The rice should still have a little bite to it, it should not be completely soft. Test the rice throughout the process to prevent overcooking.
  6. When the rice is tender, add salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and combine until melted.
  7. Serve risotto in shallow bowls and top with additional Parmesan and bacon, if desired.

Elements of Food, Elements of Home, Favorite Things

Risotto is Nothing to be Afraid Of…

Risotto seems to be one of those dishes that people are terrified of making…they are worried the texture will be off, the flavor will be bland or the whole dish will stick together into one gooey mess. In my opinion, risottos are one of the easiest, most flavorful and satisfying dishes you can make…and they are pretty quick as well! You can literally put anything you want into your risottos…mushrooms if you’re a mushroom lover, veggies, seafood, meat, literally open your cupboard and your fridge…the options are endless. There is one recipe that I have been making for a couple years and everyone I serve it to raves about it. It’s from Cooking Light (but certainly doesn’t taste like it…) It’s really simple too…I promise. it has these wonderful little pockets of melted cheese that are to die for. Yes, there is a technique to making a good textured risotto, but it’s not rocket science…and no, you don’t have to read Cook’s Illustrated to master it. Simply follow the recipe word for word…and you’ll be good to go!

Sage Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto
-Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 2¬† (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth. I always keep a little more available in case you need to alter the texture.
  • 1¬† tablespoon¬† butter
  • 1¬† cup¬† finely chopped leek (for leek preparation, see How to Prepare Leeks
  • 2¬† garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4¬† cups¬† Arborio rice
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 1/2¬† cup¬† dry white wine
  • 1 1/2¬† to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1¬† cup¬† (4 ounces) finely chopped fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2¬† ounces¬† prosciutto, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† freshly ground black pepper
  • Sage sprigs (optional)

Directions

  • Prepare your broth: Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  • Melt butter in a medium saut√© pan over medium heat.
  • Add leek and garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.

That’s the easy part…now here’s where there is a little margin for error…but as long as you’ve kept your broth warm and continue to stir the rice while adding the liquid in small amounts…it will turn out perfectly.

  • Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total).
  • Stir in chopped sage, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in mozzarella. Spoon 1 cup risotto into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 1/2 tablespoons prosciutto. Sprinkle with black pepper. Garnish with sage sprigs, if desired.