March 15, 2008
Excerpted from The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider (HarperCollins, 2006). Copyright 2006 by Sally Schneider.
Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer
1. Heat the broth with flavorings, if desired. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil over high heat; lower the heat to maintain a simmer until ready to use.
2. Sauté the shallots and rice. In a large heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the butter and shallots, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent, about 4 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to moderate, and cook, stirring, until the shallots are golden, about 1-1/2 minutes longer. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains look chalky with a white dot in the center of each, 4 to 5 minutes. Do not allow the rice to brown.
3. Add the wine, flavorings, and broth in increments. Add about 1/3 cup of the sherry and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Stir in 1/2 cup of the broth. Cook at a very low boil, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Continue adding the broth in this fashion, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is tender yet still firm in the center and the risotto is creamy but not soupy. This will take about 25 minutes. Stir in the remaining sherry and the grated and slivered zest.
4. Enrich the risotto and adjust the seasoning. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese and salt to taste. Pepper generously and add the cream, if desired. Serve at once, passing the remaining cheese on the side.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.