Last thursday marked 2 years in the history of Mr.S and me. To celebrate, we decided to cook together, with each of us making a seperate part of the meal. He grilled up 2 cuts of skirt steak from Whole Foods. Unfortunately, grilling in the dark is no easy task, and as it happened, one of the steaks met its end when it dropped into a pile of grass and dirt. Alas, not all was lost. The remaining piece was enough for us to share, beautifully char-grilled on the outside with a pink, juicy center.
And as I am going through my Italian grandmother phase, decided to make risotto. I had gone to Ceriello's earlier in the day and got this beautiful piece of pancetta.
And yes, I am a bit of a knife snob. I was given my first 2 Global knives for christmas by Mr. S and I swear I cannot and will not use anything else. The design is just amazing. So badass. And the weight of the steel allows for effortless dicing and slicing. So I guess then this picture is nothing more than a shameless attempt at showing off my prized kitchen baby.
REWIND! to the risotto. I sauteed some cubed pancetta with diced shallot and onion, added the arborio rice and stirred until the rice turned transluscent. Deglazed the pan with dry white wine until that was absorbed. At this point, be prepared to carefully monitor the risotto, as constant stirring is necessary. I added hot chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time to the rice, stirred, and cooked until that was absorbed. After about 20 minutes, and a fantastic arm workout, what I had was a potful of sticky goodness; the rice had released much of its starches and bound each grain together. I stirred in fresh sweet peas, grated Parm, salt, pepper, and a pat of butter.
Risotto is a real comfort food, both cheesy and creamy. It's a great vehicle for seasonal vegetables as stir-ins; I love porcini mushroom, butternut squash, asparagus, sweet peas, anything you have on hand that's earthy and sweet. Dinner was delicious, though we ran into a few glitches. Mr.S made a sweet balsamic reduction for the steak, which burned, so we just put a few drops of balsamic on the steak to give it a nice acidity. His reduction is one of my favorite pairings with steak, very simple, 1/3 cup balsamic vinager to 1 Tbsp of sugar and reduce over low heat. You can probably add in some fresh herbs of your choice, rosemary, thyme, or basil.
Here's to many more meals prepared and shared together...