My latest cooking class was a Risotto Class at Sur La Table! I didn’t even know they had cooking classes until my niece told me she and my sister-in-law were taking a Gnocchi class. Well, you know me! I’m like the dog from the movie “Up!” Instead of “Squirrel?” my distraction is “New Cooking Class?” After going through Sur La Table’s calendar, I settled on Risotto.
Why Risotto? Well, several reasons really. I’ve only had it a few times and I’ve heard it is hard to make correctly. So many things can go wrong in the preparation. I’m always up for adding new skills to my kitchen, so that intrigued me. Also, it’s a very versatile dish. You can change the flavor profile with just a few ingredients. Plus it’s vegetarian friendly, and that means I can make it for my daughter!
The menu for class included: Wild Mushroom Risotto with White Truffle Oil, Pumpkin Risotto with Fried Sage Leaves and Chive Oil, Fennel and Sausage Risotto with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam and Balsamic Drizzle and Arugula Pesto Risotto with Shaved Pecorino Romano.
Let me tell you, everything you’ve heard about making risotto is true. You stir for a long time. You must use a wooden spoon. There are plenty of things that can go wrong that will change the flavor and ruin your dish! The good thing about taking a class is you get to see how everything goes together. Plus, Sur La Table gave us a great packet with all the recipes, basic terms and translations, Risotto rice 101, cooking tips and where to find additional resources! I love that!
Another very cool thing about taking classes in different places, is you pick up “extras.” Extra ideas, plating options, side dishes that work well with whatever you’re making and tips for changing the recipes. We fried sage leaves! That was interesting! We also made Sun-Dried Tomato Jam. I can see many different uses for that. That’s a keeper for more than just Risotto! My favorite “extra” in this class though was the Chive Oil!
Look at that gorgeous green color! It is simple to make too! Take a bunch of fresh chives and blanch them in boiling water for about 10 seconds. Scoop them out and immediately plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking. Remove them from the water and drain on paper towels. Squeeze out all the excess water and put the chives in a blender or food processor. Puree with 1/2 cup olive oil until smooth. Transfer the chive oil to a bowl and put in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Pour the oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing hard on the solids to release the flavor. Makes about 1/2 cup! The flavor is fresh and intense. It was so good!
Hmmm…I wonder if I can make Basil oil? That would be fantastic with a lemon garlic risotto and grilled vegetables!
I’ll be making Risotto this weekend, so I’ll share my recipes and tips with you in the next few posts. What’s your favorite way to make Risotto? Give me some ideas and share your own “extra” tips with me!