Saturday, December 20, 2008

Splendid Table: Risotto

Stir, stir, stir, stir. That is risotto. I never order it in restaurants because, however tasty, it is not exciting to eat. Every bite is the same as the last, like porridge. 

While stirring and stirring Lynne Rossetto Kasper's classic white risotto last night, I was mentally preparing a crabby essay about risotto, how it's overrated, not as good as pasta, gruel with a pretty Italian name. And so on. 

Except this risotto was (of course) beyond delicious. Beyond beyond. Credit goes to the broth I simmered for 14 hours, plus the mountain of Parmesan cheese that I grated by hand. One of the most hateful kitchen tasks, hand-grating a mountain of Parmesan cheese.

But worth it. It doesn't matter if every bite of risotto is just like the last if you can taste, in every bite, meat broth, butter, onions, and Parmesan cheese, enormous flavors all somehow contained within each plump little grain of rice.

Miracle dish.

Also, in case anyone was worrying, I found candied citron. Cal-Mart the supermarket of my childhood, had some stocked high on a remote shelf. I had to ask a surly grocery clerk to bring a ladder and get it down for me. He seemed very put out. At this time of year, shouldn't the glaceed fruits be prominently displayed? Cal-Mart is where the preppy seventysomething matrons of Pacific Heights all shop and if even ladies who wear plaid skirts and headbands in their graying bobs have given up on fruitcake, is there any hope at all? 


  1. i'm glad we all now have something to worry about besides the economy, iraq, and other hopeless things that have been keeping us up: the glaceed fruit shortage!

  2. seriously! Thank-you Anonymous 8:05. When I found the Society for the Preservation of Fruitcake I will make you a charter member.

  3. I am devastated. Someone beat me to it:

    But are they really doing a good job?

  4. i am now inviting myself to dinner. i figure doing it publicly this way will make it harder for you to say no. alternatively, if you guys are stir crazy we'd happily meet you in the city for an ethnic meal adventure...

  5. Word association.


    Nutty fruitcake

    Jerky Boys