I headed out for a girls’ night out (or rather a girls night in) last night and I decided I had better prep something for dinner for my family as well. I went with a family favorite. Just chicken drumsticks or thighs with the bone in. I like that because it ensures the chicken does not dry out. I just drizzle a little olive oil, top with pressed garlic and seasoning salt, and bake them for about 45 minutes at 425°. While the chicken cooks I steam some sticky rice and sometimes I try to throw in a vegetable. My kids just die over the stuff. It’s like a treat dinner for them even though we have it a lot. It ensures they eat a great dinner, and is so easy I don’t mind prepping it before I head out for a girls’ night.
While I threw those things together for my family I also prepped some stuff to make basic Risotto at the girls tonight. I like making Risotto because it’s like a food experience. I stood at the kitchen island at my girlfriends kitchen steering, ladeling in broth, and drinking wine. While the other ladies eat appetizers and chimed in about favorite recipes, and recent Family adventures.
I get my basic risotto recipe from Shauna Niequist’s book Bread and Wine. I also know that the Jamie Oliver recipe is quite similar – I think he uses butter instead of olive oil, and ads in some diced celery with the diced onions.
With just seven ingredients I find it super easy. It’s also just really fun to make. It’s a food experience.
A few tablespoons olive oil
One onion, diced
Four cloves of garlic, pressed
2 cups of arborio rice
1 cup white wine, use the rest of the bottle to drink while cooking…
Half a cup to 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
6 cups, approximately, chicken broth.
First thing you should do is warm up the chicken broth, I toss in a few stocks of celery and some carrot chunks as well just to flavor the broth.
While the broth is warming up, dice the onion and throw it in a Dutch oven with a few glugs of olive oil. This recipe definitely is not very specific and takes some practice. But it is delicious and honestly quite easy. So give it a try.
When the onions start to become fragrant and translucent press four cloves of garlic into the pot. After a minute or two of sautéing those, add in the arborio rice. You should be able to stit your spoon through it and get the rice coated until sort of shimmering. Niequist says that a wooden spoon is a must, so I follow that instruction to the letter, and have never done it any other way.
Add in the white wine. Let it simmer (you should just see some small bubbles gurgling up to the surface ) until the liquid is absorbed. At this point you’ll spoon in the broth one ladle full at a time, each time waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid. You never want the rice drowning, and you’ll have to stir, sip, and add broth one laddle full at a time, for about 25 minutes. As you go taste test a few grains of rice at a time to make sure it is getting softer and right up until it’s soft enough to eat. You’ll know when it’s ready. Just keep stirring, sipping, and taste testing. Once the liquid is fully absorbed, I always end up using most of the 6 cups of broth that I prepare, I toss in half a cup to 1 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Stir that until it’s melted and you’re ready to go!
While I stirred and sipped my wine the ladies stood around eating a delicious platter of appetizers. We swapped stories and shared a lot of laughter. I really do like making risotto real time for this reason. It’s just conducive to everyone hanging out in the kitchen together.
Our group of ladies chose to do a risotto bar so each lady brought different toppings to contribute. (Or a side salad.) Our toppings included sautéed mushrooms, sausage, bacon, prawns, pesto, and often times we also include sweet potatoes or other vegetables people like to toss in it.
This particular table is phenomenal for this dinner because it has a large marble lazy Susan… No joke. So we were able to dish up and rotate the amazing options around the table. I loved watching ladies dish up second and even third helpings.
Yet again food brought us together. These ladies sat around for hours sharing stories, answering some challenging questions, and really just diving into real life together. Messy and beautiful, and for sure including food! Feeding our bodies along with our minds and hearts.