What is risotto? Risotto is Italian, Arborio rice dish cooked using stock till its creamy consistency. On the packet of Arborio rice include method and a recipe. So, I know the basic ingredients included are butter, onion, white wine, and Parmesan cheese.
I have read and know from many chefs and food bloggers through google is that risotto cooking is by adding and stirring small amounts of hot stock into the Arborio rice a little at a time, allowing the liquid to absorbed as you go.
I have seen on TV, as well as google there are many varieties of risotto, just naming a few most common ingredients used by many professional chefs are mushrooms, peas, lemon and sausages.
To me, risotto is Italian dish of creamy consistency, comforting meal seems like what most Asian rice porridge called Congee or Chok; which is long grain rice cooked overnight and then add water a lot to make stock from chicken carcass or Maryland, fish head and bone, pork spare ribs, and vegetables. The rice and water or stock is combined well with lots of garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally. Then other ingredients added to it are many.
Just naming the ingredients that I love in my congee or chok as my grandma called it are chicken pieces, or shredded, minced pork balls with Asian chives, pork liver, intestine, fish meat, fish brain, century eggs and spring onions, Chinese donuts cut into pieces. As for me, I needed my chilli oil in my congee.
The only different to these two rices is one added Parmesan cheese the other without to make its creamy consistency comforting meal. Congee or Chok is Asian porridge meal for when you are sick can’t eat solid hard meal. As well as breakfast or yum cha with lots of ingredients.
I missed eating congee or chok the way grandma cooks and in Malaysia Hawkers stalls. Well, let get creative, experimenting and exploring making risotto that have me in it.
I have use homemade Mediterranean spice, purple cabbage, round eggplant, Spanish onion, red capsicums which has gone soft a bit, ginger, garlic, red wine, margarine on top of the basic ingredients mentioned on the packet.
It colour doesn’t looks great as seen on picture. However, the Mediterranean spice flavour definitely bring you back to an Italian restaurant sitting on the porch looking out to sea.
The texture of purple cabbage is a bit crunchy blending in al dente rice with bite of eggplant, capsicum and gingery- garlicky aroma. Delizioso!!!!!
4 c vegetable stock
2 c white wine, divided
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1 c red wine
1 round eggplant, cubed and sweat with salt (opt)
1 small red capsicum, cut into bite size
1/2 purple cabbage, slice long strips
1/2 Spanish onion
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
2” ginger, chopped finely, divided
6 garlic chopped finely, divided
8-10 Tbs proactive margarine, divided
4 Tsp Mediterranean spice, homemade
Heat vegetable stock and 1 c white wine; just make it hot. Switch off heat and leave covered, once it’s hot.
In a cast iron pan, heat 3 Tbs of olive oil and 2 Tbs margarine. Then add garlic cook for 1-2 minutes. Now add ginger and cook until soft fragrant. Next add cabbage, cooked for about 4 minutes on low heat with stirring frequently. Now add eggplant, red wine, Mediterranean spice and capsicum, stirring for about 4-5 minutes until it has thick liquid consistency.
Remove cooked vegetables to deep plate and set aside.
Add 3 Tbs oil and 4 Tbs margarine back to same pan. Add garlic and ginger fry for about 2 minutes. Now add Arborio rice stirring frequently to coat with butter-oil garlic- ginger mixture. Need a little colour on rice, so once it looks slight gold; add 1 cup white wine. Cook, stirring constantly until absorbed.
Once absorbed, start adding 1 ladle of stock at a time and constantly stirring until absorbed. Once absorbed add your next ladle until about last 4 ladles. Cover the pan to allow Arborio rice cooked to al dente. Around the last 10 minutes of 25 minutes cooking time with in between leave up lid and gives a couple of stirs. Make sure there is some stock.
Now switch off heat and stir in cooked vegetables with thick sauce, the remaining margarine, and shaved Parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: Do not walk away from pan, as Arborio rice can burn due to bit by bit stock added to be absorbed. You can add any ingredients you want. I opted for purple cabbage, eggplant, Spanish onion initially for the theme of purple dish but I discovered my capsicum is a bit soft best use it rather than throw in to the bin – wasted.
My Mediterranean snapper recipe: https://helenscchin.com/2019/01/19/mediterranean-snapper-and-vegetables/
The Mediterranean spice recipe: https://helenscchin.com/2019/01/19/mediterranean-snapper-and-vegetables/
My sausage and red wine risotto recipe: https://helenscchin.com/2020/02/25/sausage-and-red-wine-risotto/