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Risotto alla Parmigiana, simply creamy & delicious

I never understood the hype around risotto until I had a taste of my friend’s Wild Mushroom Risotto in Black Truffle jus at Celadon in Napa. By the way, if you’re ever in Napa, I highly recommend you eat at Celadon, located downtown. Chef Greg Cole’s inspirational menu features flavors from the Mediterranean, Asia, and the Americas. Needless to say, I have been craving risotto ever since that bite of absolute creamy richness with hints of earthiness. My craving finally subsided last night when I learned how to make risotto. Although very different from the one I had at Celadon, it was none the less creamy and rich.

The word risotto comes from the Italian word riso, meaning ‘rice’. Risotto is a classic Italian method of cooking rice. After sweating the aromatics and sauteing the rice, hot liquid is added in small amounts while the rice is gently stirred. As the liquid evaporates, more liquid is added until the rice is cooked but still firm. The finished products has a creamy consistency due to the starch that is cooked out of the rice as well as the cheese that is added when finishing the dish.

Below is the a basic recipe for Risotto alla Parmigiana  taken from Professional Cooking, Wayne Gisslen, 6th Edition (p.626). There are many variations but the technique and method remains the same. Although this recipe calls for chicken stock, I bet you can use tea…

Risotto alla Parmigiana
Portions: 10
Portion Size: 5 oz

  • 1 oz butter
  • 1 fl oz Vegetable oil
  • 1 oz onion, finely diced
  • 1 lb Arborio rice (short grain)
  • 1.5 qt Chicken Stock, hot
Finishing Ingredients:
  • 1 oz butter
  • 3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • SPTT (Salt and Pepper to taste)
  1. Heat butter and oil in a large, straight-sided saute pan. Add the onion, sweat until soft and translucent. Do not brown.
  2. Add the rice and saute until well coated with butter, oil and onion.
  3. Using a 6-oz ladle, add one ladle of stock to rice at a time and gently stir over medium heat until the rice absorbs all the liquid.
  4. Add another ladle of stock and repeat procedure. Do not add more then one ladle of stock at a time and do not sir too much.
  5. Stop adding stock when the rice is tender but still a little firm in the center. It should look moist and creamy, but not runny. The cooking time should take 25-30 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the raw butter and Parmesan cheese. Salt & pepper to taste.
I know what your thinking…This recipe does not have any tea…How can I be The Tea Spot Chef without tea???…Well, I am going to Culinary School to learn the foundation of French Cuisine. Once I learn the basics to a recipe and the method of preparation, I can then creatively introduce tea and other interesting ingredients (like wild mushrooms and black truffle) into a recipe…Stay tuned to see how I incorporate our Earl of Grey into the Risotto alla Parmigiana…

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