27 March, 2013

Dinner with Amy

Would you be intimidated by a dozen young, beautiful women piling into a five star hotel elevator on a Saturday night on their way to a $$$ restaurant on Avenue Road?  Didn't think so.  Strangely, our waiter at said restaurant seemed to be terrified of our table.  There could be no other explanation for his spotty service and general disregard to, well, service us.

It got to the point that the maid of honour had to undress him (so to speak) in a loud enough voice that the ladies looked up from their oversized white plates and felt a little sorry for him.  She was in the right of course - he was being very rude and what does $$$ buy you if not fake love from a server?

To boot, my dish did not taste like a $$$ dish should and was over mushroomed, even for a risotto fungi.  Amy - the bride to be - had ravioli with seafood that was suspiciously stuffed with canned crab meat. Others told us the sea bass special was delightful.

How to make a simple and delicious Risotto

one cup arborio rice
about two cups simmering chicken stock
a small chopped onion
third of a cup chopped mixed mushrooms (e.g. shiitake, oyster, cremini)
half cup of green peas (optional)
half cup of grated fresh parmesan
olive oil
two tablespoons butter

The key is to use simmering stock - a good quality stock.  Sautee the onion in oil and butter until translucent.  Add the rice and stir to combine with the onion, heating the rice for about 4 minutes.

Add a ladle of stock to the rice.  You must stay at the stove for this entire process (with brief trips to the counter to chop your mushrooms).  As the stock is slowly absorbed by the rice, continue adding spoonfuls of stock until the rice is al dente.  Add the mushrooms after ten minutes or so.  Reserve the peas for closer to the end of cooking. Taste the rice and season accordingly.

Remove from the stove and stir in the parmesan.  The rice will be a creamy texture and wonderfully delicious.  I once heard that a good risotto should be wet enough to "melt" on the plate when you serve it.